Sunday, July 6, 2008


In Italian, the word for radish is ravanello. In Italian the word for roots--as in family roots, putting down roots--is radici. We have a forest of radishes in the garden, flamboyant, a pinkish red with white tips, and candela di ghiaccio, or ice candle, a long white taper. They are both sweet and spicy. We pull them out of the garden bed, the dirt still clinging to their hairy roots, and wash them in a bucket of cool water. We eat them from a platter with a dish of sea salt, or sliced thinly on rye bread with sweet butter. Our neighbor, who is from Germany, has brought us Bavarian white radish seeds to plant for her. Last year's gift are still growing, their leaves bolting into lavender colored flowers reminscent of wild sweet william. When guests come to visit, we harvest and serve the radishes fresh from the earth. The greens are pepper-bright in the mouth and make for a good mix with the cutting lettuces or wilted and finished with a little olive oil.


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