Ease into summer eating with this delicious roast radish, feta and herb salad

Lilly Higgins: I’ve finally come around to roasting radishes. They are divine

Divine: Lilly Higgins’s roast radish, feta and herb salad

Divine: Lilly Higgins’s roast radish, feta and herb salad

 

Over the past few years everyone seems to be roasting their radishes. I’ve resisted for the past few years each spring as I love to celebrate the first radishes fresh from the soil, a promise of many more delightful vegetables to come.

They grow extremely fast and are the perfect vegetable to grow from seed with kids. Results appear in a matter of weeks and you can eat the thinnings in salads or on toast with a little cream cheese. So delicious! A month after planting from seed your radishes will be ready for harvest – such a triumphant moment for gardeners of every age. 

I’m always a big fan of eating vegetables raw as much as possible but I do love a warm salad to ease us into summer eating. So this year I’ve finally roasted a few radish and they are truly divine. That bright crunchy pepperiness is tamed by the heat of the oven. They mellow and become sweet and juicy while still maintaining a bit of a spicy kick. 

Peter Rabbit

Buy the radish whole in bunches with the greens still on if possible. Remove the green tops as soon as you’re home as they sap energy from the radish bulb. Keep the peppery greens for adding to salads or stir fries. Dip raw radish in melted butter for a pretty and tasty little canapé, it’s the savoury version of chocolate-dipped strawberries. I usually add thinly sliced radish to a grated carrot salad with pickled beetroot and plenty of mint. Dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, it keeps well in the fridge for a few days. 

Peter Rabbit is a major influencer in this house. As soon as the bunches of hot pink radish appeared at the market my youngest zoned in. She carried them back to the car gripping them tightly in case any rogue rabbits attempted to sabotage our lunch plans.

I’ve paired the spicy radish with creamy feta here. I’ve used Ardsallagh feta here, Toonsbridge also makes a nice feta-style cheese. 

I love mixing herbs together: bite-size sprigs of parsley, coriander and chervil or feathery fronds of dill and fennel give an unexpected burst of intense flavour to a green salad. The mint and dill are delicious in this salad, a further layer of Greek flavour to complement the feta. This is a beautiful light lunch or starter but it also makes a terrific side to roast lamb or barbecued lamb chops. It would also work with grilled fish or even a roast chicken.To make it more substantial I sometimes add puy lentils or chickpeas to this salad. 

It’s bright, light and a cinch to make. 

Roast radish, feta and herb salad
Serves 2
1 bunch radishes, trimmed
100g cubed feta cheese
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh mint, thinly sliced
1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
½ lemon
2 large handfuls salad leaves
Pitta breads, warmed 

Method
Preheat the oven to 220 Celsius. Halve the radishes and toss with the feta, olive oil, and pepper in a small oven-proof dish. I don’t usually salt the radish when I’m roasting them alongside the already salty feta but do taste and season if necessary. Roast for 10 minutes until tender but still retaining some crunch. 

Place the pitta in the oven to warm for two minutes. 

Combine the mint, dill and salad leaves in a bowl. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of crunchy sea salt. Divide between two bowls. Top with the radish and feta and serve with the warm pitta bread.

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