Not A Sidekick: Roasted Radishes And Broccoli Raab
Berkshire native Alana Chernila, mother of two, and author of the cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), dispenses change and cooking ideas to readers and friends. She shares her peak-of-the-season recipes with Rural Intelligence to help us make the most of what’s growing in our region. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has just announced that she has a new one in the works; tentatively named “Meals from the Homemade Pantry” (Clarkson Potter), due out in 2015.
One day, as I was finishing up lessons with the three girls for whom I was once a governess, I watched as broccoli raab was roughly chopped and thrown into a pan with a bit of water and a hunk of butter. A few minutes later it was on a plate, served heaping and on its own with nothing but a hefty slice of cheddar cheese. It seemed strange, even a little forbidden to eat nothing but a pile of steaming bitter greens for lunch. It seemed like it should have been a side dish. But I asked what it was, and before I knew it, I was home recreating this simple lunch with the vegetable that was so new to me.
I love broccoli raab. No one else in the family does (except, I think, my sister, who shares my adoration for bitter greens). I often eat a whole bunch of broccoli raab in one sitting, steamed with a slice of cheddar cheese alongside.
The girls are nearly grown now, and they are scattered around the world. One is in Santa Fe (continuing our studies), one in France, and one in India. I hear from them every so often, or one shows up on my doorstep for tea. I think they will always be part of me, as they (with all their extraordinary qualities and loves) helped to weave the fabric of the grownup I was becoming. I only hope that I taught them nearly as much as they taught me.
Roasted Radishes and Broccoli Raab
(with thanks to Melissa Clark for the reminder that broccoli raab roasts up so nicely)
1 large bunch broccoli raab, chopped just a few times
1 large bunch radishes, each radish cut lengthwise (leave the greens attached if they look fresh and delicious)
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Make sure that your vegetables are dry. Scatter the broccoli raab and radishes (not overcrowding!) over two lightly oiled baking sheets. Drizzle with a fair amount of olive oil, and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the vegetables. Roast for about 10 minutes, shuffling halfway through. The vegetables are done when the radishes are sweet and tender. Toss with additional salt, if necessary.
Reprinted with permission from Eatingfromthegroundup.com. All text and photos copyright 2008-13 by Alana Chernila.