Radishes with butter and salt: a love story
Credit: Photo by philipimage via Getty Images

There comes a time in every New York summer heat wave when cold foods like smoothies and watermelon are the only things I can stomach in the morning. It’s also pretty easy to get sick of these foods—talk to me after you’ve eaten a full watermelon every breakfast for four days in a row. That, friends, is when I take a more savory route. Radishes. Butter. Salt. Sourdough.

Radishes with butter and salt is a combination of heavenly proportions, made only more wholesome with a slice of two of chewy sourdough bread. Perhaps you’re more familiar with seeing this pairing on the snacks menu at your favorite bar, but I would like to make a formal case for it to be eaten for breakfast. Peppery radishes and creamy butter sparkling with coarse salt is exactly what I want to crunch into on a hot summer morning, and I bet after a bite you’d agree with me.

First things first, buy radishes with green tops still connected. Any type of radishes will do, but breakfast radishes are of course on brand. Trim off the greens to leave about an inch connected to the radish. While you won’t eat the greens in this particular dish, they’re wonderful sauteed with garlic and lemon, or pureed into a pesto. Rinse the radishes well and scrub any sand or soil from the remaining greens. Drop the radishes in a bowl of ice water, and let them sit for about 20 minutes—this ups the radish crunch factor by approximately one zillion. Following their soak, dry the radishes on a kitchen towel, then slice each one in half vertically.

Arrange the radishes on a large plate near two smaller bowls, one filled with softened unsalted butter and the other with coarse salt (any salt will do, but if you can get your hands on smoked salt, I highly recommend giving that one a go). Smear butter on a radish and dunk it in the salt. Tear off bites of bread in between for extra credit.