Yesterday we took our dog to his favorite place, the Point Isabelle dog park, where the wild mustard and radishes are in full flower and the ground is currently soft enough to gather roots. The radishes were so appealingly enormous that we hauled up a handful of them, and brought them home to sample. Since the bay area is liberally strewn with radishes right now, you might want to do the same!
-Don’t eat the ones that have started to flower. The roots will be tough and fibrous. The root should snap with a nice crunch when you chop or break it.
-look for radishes with one whorl of large leaves (not a whole clump, which signifies an older plant), and take a look at the root underneath before you dig it up. It should be smooth and white or pink–not woody and dry, although some good roots look dry on top, so peek down under soil level. We found some very nice large radishes with appealing leaves and roots growing under the protection of fennel plants, so that might be a place to start.
-wash and scrub them extremely thoroughly when you get them home. I even peeled them with a carrot peeler.
-break off the long tendril-y root tip. It’s too fibrous to enjoy.
-If you plan on eating the greens (which are good if you like bitter greens; similar to beet greens), choose evenly-colored leaves, make sure you wash each leaf thoroughly, look for and remove any bad spots, and remove the stems.
I followed this recipe from food and wine magazine for roasted radishes and greens. The roots were very good cooked this way–it cut the spicy isothiocyanate flavor, and gave them a nice crisp-tender texture. The greens were good too, but a whole bowlful of bitter greens turns out to be a bit much for me. Definitely good side-dish material.