The first seeds I ever planted were small, round, perfect little radish seeds. My dad bought them for me because he knew they’d be easy to grow for a gardening beginner. I loved pushing them into the soil and watching them grow.
When it came time to eat the matured radishes, I actually embraced the new, peppery flavour. Funny for a kid, eh? Maybe I owe it to my dad, maybe to Peter Rabbit, maybe just to being different!
It’s been years since I grew radishes, and when I get them at the store, it’s primarily to add them to potato salad or garden salads. Being the only one in my house who really eats them, the bunch always goes bad before I use it up. Solution – grow my own again.
I still love radishes, and this week I made my first potato salad of the season. I also threw in some fresh Rocket (a.k.a. Arugula), which is also growing in abundance in my little plot. That makes it a double-peppery potato salad, but I like it that way! Funny side-note, while we’re on the topic of potato salad – it seems many Irish folks (*cough* Frank *cough*) don’t particularly go for the cold summer salads. They love their spuds and pasta, but please serve ’em warm!
Anyhoo… don’t think I need to post a potato salad recipe, you probably have one you prefer, right? Mine is just a basic one anyway, potatoes, spring onions, light mayo, vinegar, salt, pepper, sometimes hard-boiled eggs, etc. But I will recommend you throw in some fresh Rocket with those radishes, just to liven things up. Plus I think that counts as at least 1 of your 5-a-day, right?
I WILL leave you with a recipe I love to throw together on summer nights, and another one that is a really lovely way to eat Rocket*. I think I’ve mentioned before how living in Ireland has given me a real appreciation for this little herb/lettuce, as it is used frequently across a variety of cuisines. I also love it in a crusty roll with Brie and tomatoes, or mixed into a Greek-style cous-cous salad with roasted red peppers and Feta. It is so delicious!!!
Pasta Primavera, Maryann Style
Serves 4, Total Prep and Cook time 45 minutes
1 500 gram package of spaghetti, linguini or bowtie pasta
4 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve (if you have a fruity flavoured one, that is nice, too)
2 Tbls butter
Couple handfuls of sweet cherry or santini tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
1/3 Cup frozen petite pois (peas!)
2 large cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 tsp – 1 tsp dried red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
zest of 1 lemon
Good pinch of sea salt
1/4 Cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
1 bunch of fresh Rocket (Arugula)
Combine olive oil, butter, tomatoes, peas, garlic, chili flakes, lemon zest, salt and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl and let sit in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain. Return to saucepan and toss with tomato mixture. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Serve in pasta bowls with fresh Rocket, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and additional Parmesan cheese on top.
*Notes: Taste your Rocket before serving – some varieties (especially home-grown) can be very strong and peppery! Use your own tastebuds to decide how much to throw into each bowl.
If you have fresh green beans or fresh asparagus, cut into thin batons and add to the pasta water during the last minute or two of cooking. This recipe is great in general for using up spring and summer veg – so go wild! 🙂
Frank also likes the addition of toasted pine nuts, if you have them on hand.