Radishes are at their sweetest now, before summer’s high temperatures turn them bitter. Chef Jarrett Stieber is a fan of local varieties like cherry belle, purple plum, and white icicle, which star in dishes at his popular Candler Park pop-up Eat Me Speak Me. “As a kid, I only had the fibrous, factory farmed ones from the supermarket,” he says. “These are so much more tender.” Although prized most for their crunchy texture and peppery bite when raw, radishes become earthy and mellow—more like their cousin, the turnip—when cooked. Below, Stieber walks us through both techniques.
Pick them right
Look for firm roots and bright, perky leaves without pock marks. Wash well, trim away the leaves, and store covered in the refrigerator.
Serve them raw
Stieber’s modern take on a crudité platter (pictured): Flavor softened butter with a mixture of sea salt, sugar, aonori (a type of seaweed found in powdered form at most Asian markets), and a few drops of benne seed oil. Smear the compound butter onto a serving platter, top with layers of whole and halved radishes, and finish with another drizzle of benne oil and salt.
Serve them cooked
Toss halved or quartered radishes in canola oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast in a 400°F oven until they begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Stieber also likes to poach whole small radishes in dashi and serve them with fish.
Don’t toss the tops!
But use them right away; they perish quickly. Mix the spicy greens into a salad or quickly sauté them, like spinach. You could also combine them with basil leaves and blend into a pesto.
Jarrett Stieber 101
The chef, who grew up in Sandy Springs, worked his way around some of this city’s top kitchens—Pura Vida, Holeman and Finch, Empire State South, Abattoir—before opening Eat Me Speak Me in 2013. The weekend pop-up has since drawn quite a following, and Stieber was nominated for a James Beard Award last year.
This article originally appeared in our March 2017 issue.