Root Number

Radishes step outside the salad bowl

Plenty of ingredients deserve their reputation as salad standbys.

With radishes, however, the quarantine has always struck us as odd because the versatile spring root–which comes in a variety of types–has so much more potential.

Lately, chefs around the country have been putting radishes to smarter use. This season, we've seen the vegetable braised, tossed into vinaigrettes and even used in cocktails and desserts (click here to see a slide show). When faced with a choice between the familiar raw radish option and a palate-cleansing radish sorbet, our adventurous side has been winning out.

Now, we're bringing this innovative approach to radish cooking to your home kitchen in the form of two inspired recipes. For the weekday meal, try a radish-pesto recipe created in our Test Kitchen, in which the root's greens anchor a vibrant dip that mellows the sharp crunch of the rosy spheres (click here to see the recipe). For a weekend meal, we've procured the recipe for curried radish fritters from Paley's Place in Portland, Oregon. Serve them alongside a cooling radish-and-cucumber raita for a captivating appetizer at your next dinner party (click here to see the recipe).

The best place to find an abundance of different radishes is at your local farmers' market. Wherever you buy them, however, be sure the radishes are firm and fresh, with crisp green leaves attached. Then shuttle your stash home and take them for a spin outside the salad bowl.