Recipe of the Week: Radish Salad

As you know, the big trend right now is to purchase local produce. Some people say if your grandparents didn't eat it, don't buy it. Living in Toronto that would mean no bananas or citrus fruits among many other things so I do occasionally break down. It's great to be able to buy fruits and vegetables grown in more hospitable climates than my own, but I always look for recipes that feature vegetables that are grown in my own province and then buy them within their own harvest season. So I was interested to read that Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon from the 100 mile diet were in Toronto recently publicising their book.(called Plenty in the States) The Toronto Star printed a recipe from the book and I thought I would give it a try. The ingredients fit into my ability to buy locally - the first Ontario asparagus has hit the market this week and you can always get Ontario radishes.

Initially the recipe seemed a bit fussy to me - boiling, broiling, pouring, mixing - for a salad! but it sounded interesting so I thought I would have a go. Below I have repeated the recipe as printed in the Star, but I actually just tossed everything in the salad bowl as I was finished chopping, boiling, broiling etc and didn't really worry about the order of the recipe. I thought it had a lovely taste and a really elegant look in the bowl. You could serve it for a lunch or dinner party although there is a certain amount of last minute preparation. I used walnuts rather than hazelnuts simply because I prefer the taste - always feel free to substitute. Don't worry about how crunchy the salad is - that is part of it's charm. This was definitely a recipe I would make again.Radish Salad

1 bunch radishes, very thinly sliced, leaves reserved
salt to taste
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 lb asparagus, tough ends removed
1 lb baby new potatoes, unpeeled, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp hazelnut oil (I used canola oil)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp liquid honey or maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 hot pepper flakes
chopped hazelnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Add radish leaves to saucepan of boiling salted water; return to boil and cook about 1 minute. Drain and chop
3. In ovenproof skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add asparagus and salt; toss until coated. Transfer to oven; roast until tender crisp, about 3 minutes. Cut each stalk into thirds.
4. In a saucepan, place potatoes in enough salted water to cover, bring to boil. Remove from heat; let sit until barely tender, about 2 minutes. Drain.
In a small bowl, combine hazelnuts oil, apple cider vinegar garlic, honey, salt and hot pepper flakes. Pour over ward potatoes; add remaining butter and chopped radish leaves.
5. To serve, toss with radish slices and asparagus. Sprinkle with hazelnuts, if using.

Makes about 4 servings

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