Friday, January 15, 2010

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Radishes

Do y'all remember Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre? C'mon children of the 80s, who's with me? If you need a refresher, seasons 1-6 are available on Hulu and Netflix instant watch. You have no idea how excited I was when I saw these titles on Netflix. The series is a who's-who of 80s entertainment, with guest stars ranging from Robin Williams to Carol Kane to Matthew Broderick and even James Earl Jones as Aladdin's genie. The tales are dark and funny and with just a pinch of sexual innuendo, which, until now, went right over my head. And you can't beat the hilarious production quality, even for the 80s.

As I was reacquainting myself with the series, I stumbled upon a few episodes I had never seen, one of which was Rapunzel. Apparently, as the story goes, Rapunzel's parents find themselves in a bit of jam, when Rapunzel's mom (preggers with you-know-who) can't get enough of these magic radishes, which (say it with me) only grow in a witch's garden. Dotting husband (played by Jeff Bridges) treks over there, night after night stealing radishes and dodging witches, when little does he know, Witchy put the hankering for radishes in Wifey's head in order to exact a vengeful price - a baby-sized price, that is.

Good, now you are all caught up. So, why I am telling you this? Well, because this episode had a strangely alluring radish montage. That's right. I bet you never thought you would see it, but there is a radish montage, which inclues radishes eaten off the stem, radish kabobs, radish pie, radish fondue and culminates in a toothy, cannibal-radish nightmare. Fantastic. And you know what I realized? I've never eaten a radish before - in my whole life.

Roasted Radishes with Green Beans
(based on this Gourmet recipe)

1 lb. radishes, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place racks at top and bottom thirds of the oven. Toss radishes with about 2 tbsp. olive oil. (You could toss in a bowl or in a gallon storage bag. I tossed mine in a bag, so I could reuse for green beans and use less oil). Spread radishes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast on top rack for 10 minutes.

2. While the radishes are roasting, toss green beans with remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil (or less depending on your taste). Spread green beans in a single layer on a baking sheet. When radishes have been roasting for ten minutes, put green beans in oven, on bottom rack, and continue roasting both for a further ten minutes.

3. Test doneness of radishes, they should be crispy but tender. Depending on the size of the radishes, they may take a few more minutes. Sprinkle garlic over green beans and roast another two minutes. In a large bowl, toss radishes with green beans and serve.

Despite the fact that Boyfriend warned, "If you've ever bitten into a salad on gone: 'Ick, what is that?' You've probably had a radish," I decided to try one raw for comparison. I was instantly sorry I had decided to roast them. If you don't know, radishes have a hearty, mushroom-like flavor (I think that kind of taste is called umami, but the term is still confusing to me) with a kind of cauliflower/broccoli stem crunchiness. And the pepper! There is a charming and surprising peppery kick at the end of each bite. After roasting, the pepperiness is gone (sad face), but the radish itself it sweet and crispy, kinda like roasted cauliflower (which is kick-ass, in case you haven't tried that). Overall quite delicious. - What a puzzling little, cherry red, flavor-bomb you are, Brother Radish. I very much enjoyed eating you.

It remains to be seen whether or not other episodes of Faerie Tale Theatre will inspire new recipes in my kitchen. Until then, nerd on!


Elena said...

You just rocketed me back to my childhood. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

removing faerie tale theater from the amazon list & adding it to netflix.

also, seriously, did the gorgs never come to mind in all your thoughts of radishes?