Radish-top soup and slow-roasted radish roots with fennel

November 15, 2010

One of the things that excites me the most is to take a humble vegetable and turn it into something exquisite.

Like… a simple radish.

Most of us are very familiar with the cheerful little bulbs. Round and bright red, they can be found on the shelves of every grocery store, year-round. Radishes are mostly eaten raw, in salads or on their own; their leafy tops are usually thrown away without a second thought.

But this unassuming little root has so much more to offer. Not only do the bulbs turn sweet and nutty when roasted; their leafy tops make the most delicious cooked greens. It only takes a mouthful of this radish-top soup and a bite of the fennel-roasted roots to be a convert.

The common radish works beautifully in this recipe. But if you want to experience a truly fabulous radish, then take the time to browse your local farmers’ market or farm stand. There are many varieties available these days—radishes come in all sizes, shapes and colors, with flavors ranging from crisp and sweet to a little hot and tangy.

A few years ago one gorgeous bulb really caught my eye, its name—the watermelon radish—as colorful as its bright pink flesh. The watermelon radish has since become a favorite in my kitchen, and it’s absolutely delicious in today’s recipe. (I hope the picture below will entice you to seek it out.)

But you should seek out other radishes, too—like the cherriette (a larger and sweeter version of the common radish), the luobo (crisp with a plate green flesh and a little heat)…

… or the China rose (vibrant pink skin and crisp white flesh). These gorgeous bulbs will open up a whole new world of flavors to your palate—and all will work marvelously with these recipes.

I love to serve this soup side by side with the roasted roots. Take a bite of the sweet, fennel-infused roots along with a spoonful of the spicy, silky green-top soup and you’ll agree: the humblest of vegetables can truly be transformed into a heavenly experience.

White wine iconTry a dry or slightly off-dry Riesling. The exotic and floral notes, as well as the minerality typical of Riesling, work beautifully with these recipes. And if you can, seek out the marvelous Rieslings of Hermann J. Wiemer from the Finger Lakes, New York. (For an article and tasting notes I wrote on this wine, click here.)

Radish-top soup and slow-roasted radish roots with fennel

serves 4 to 6
active time: 30 min

  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 4 shallots – skinned, halved and finely sliced (1 1/4 cups)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  4. 2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely sliced
  5. 8 oz (225 g) Yukon Gold potatoes – peeled and cut in 1/2″ cubes (1 1/4 cups)
  6. 3 cups vegetable stock
  7. 2 1/2 cups spring water
  8. 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  9. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  10. 12 oz (340 g) radish tops (or mustard greens) – tough stems removed, leaves and tender stems cut in 1/2″ strips (14 cups loosely packed)
  11. 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
  1. 1 recipe slow-roasted radish roots with fennel
  2. lemon-infused oil as garnish

  1. Step 1: Heat a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, shallots, red pepper flakes and garlic; stir well and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until softened, stirring from time to time. Add the potatoes, stock, water, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Add the radish leaves, stir well and continue to boil until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium/medium-low, cover the pot and slow-simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Step 2: Add the crème fraîche and purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor until silky smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and keep warm.
  3. Step 3: Place a small mound of the roasted radish roots on a plate. Ladle the soup in a small bowl and place next to the roots. Drizzle the infused oil on the soup and serve immediately.
  4. Cook’s note: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Viviane’s tip

Use only the tender part of the stems to make the soup.

The common radish has very tender stems and the leafy tops can be used whole. But other varieties — like the watermelon, luobo or China rose radishes — have thicker stems that are a bit fibrous and will need to be trimmed.

Trim the thicker part of the stems, as shown above, and discard.

Weigh the leaves and tender stems for the soup. You should have 12 oz (340 g) or 14 cups of loosely packed, coarsely chopped leaves.

soup, radish tops, radish greens, radish roots

© 2014 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Slow-Roasted Radish Roots with Fennel

serves 4 to 6
active time: 20 min

  1. 12 oz (340 g) watermelon radish roots (4 large) – peeled and cut in 1/4” slices
  2. 12 oz (340 g) regular radish roots (14 large) – un-peeled and quartered
  3. 2 teaspoons fennel seeds – crushed in a mortar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  5. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  6. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  7. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC).
  2. Step 1: Place the radishes in a heavy-bottomed non-stick roasting pan large enough to hold the slices in a single layer. Sprinkle with the fennel, salt and pepper. Drizzle with the maple syrup and olive oil. Toss well, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes until very tender, tossing once halfway through the cooking.
  3. Step 2: Remove foil and toss vegetables carefully so as not to break them. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake for 12 to 15 additional minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and serve with the soup.

side dish, fennel, radish

Viviane’s tip

Give your roots a pretty tip.

The radish roots look very elegant with a bit of the tail showing. Here’s how to do it:

Peel the radish along its bulb and its tail, being careful not to sever the tail.

Cut the tail on the diagonal, about 1/2” from the base of the bulb.

Cut the radish in half, right through its tail, and then in quarters right through its tail again.

For larger radishes, cut each quarter in half, right through the tail, into 1/4″ slices.

© 2010 Viviane Bauquet FarreFood & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

didi conn November 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

Dearest Viviane,
I am so thrilled to experience your fantastic new website! It is absolutely stunning!!!!
I can’t wait to get in the kitchen and try out your mouth watering recipes! Brava!
All my love,


Viviane November 16, 2010 at 10:24 am

Didi! Thank you so much for your loving comment. You are the very first person to leave a comment on the new site. That means so much to me , you have no idea! All my love back to you…


El November 17, 2010 at 11:47 am

You’ve elevated the radish to an art form. I’m headed to the farm now to pick a few up. Thanks for the inspiration!


Viviane November 17, 2010 at 11:57 am

Thanks El! You made my day… That’s exactly what I was hoping people would do after reading this post.


Amelia from Z Tasty Life November 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I can’t wait to go to teh farmers market to get some radishes now!!!


Viviane November 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Amelia! Enjoy your trip to the farmers’ market… Perhaps this is why I do all this… So that more and more people buy fresh veggies from their local farmers.


Demetra Lambros November 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm

You’ve DONE it! The new layout is stunning and it completely reflects everything that you are trying to communicate. I always loved your info; now it just comes in an even more “stylish” and user-friendly package! I hope more and more people will find you and delight in your work, as do those of us who already struck our gold in coming across you in the vast web of internet info. Really, Viviane, it is gorgeous. (And yes, I have never looked forward to getting radishes as I do now!) Congratulations!!


Viviane November 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Demetra! I cannot thank you enough for your heartfelt and warm comment. You’re a gem and you keep me going on this journey!


Eleanor Hoh (wokstar) November 17, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Congratulations on your BEAUTIFUL, zen new website, Viviane. You never cease to amaze me with the amount you’ve accomplished, so inspiring. I so agree about turning vegetables into something exquisite. You can make anything look lovely, kudos to you. I’ve got lots to learn.


Viviane November 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Eleanor, You comment made me smile from ear to ear… Thank you for taking the time to stop by and write today. You’re so wonderful!


lisaiscooking November 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm

What a fabulous dish! I rarely cook radishes, but watermelon radishes are perfect for roasting. I love that all of the radish is used here with the greens in the soup. Looks delicious!

Beautiful new look to your site as well!


Viviane November 17, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Thank you Lisa… So glad you stopped by today!


Tokyo Terrace November 17, 2010 at 5:14 pm

OK, I always love your posts, and this one is no exception, but I have to comment on your gorgeous site!! It is so clean and lovely!!! Congratulations, Viviane!


Viviane November 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Thank you SO much “Tokyo Terrace’! It’s been a lot of work, but it has paid off… I’ve missed you on Twitter!


Tokyo Terrace November 18, 2010 at 4:34 am

Yeah, twitter has taken a back seat lately…I’ve been so busy working! I miss spending my time on the Terrace :) But I’m LOVING your new site. Well done!


Nancy/SpicieFoodie November 19, 2010 at 11:51 am

Hi, it’s my first time here. Your website is gorgeous as is your photography. All of the recipes look amazing, I don’t know where to start. I’ll be coming back for more. Have a great weekend.


Amy November 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

What a wonderful and creative way to prepare radishes! Looks delicious!


Trish November 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm

The new website is gorgeous! And I love this recipe. Radishes are one of the few vegetables I don’t cook with or eat often, mainly because I don’t know how to prepare them properly. This recipe is getting bookmarked right now. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.


Viviane November 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Nancy, Amy, Trish! I thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful comments… I’m excited for you to discover how delicious those humble radishes can be.


Rachael November 20, 2010 at 5:12 pm


This elevates radishes to a whole new level! Thank you for this recipe and the gorgeous photos. Your new website is lovely and so easy to navigate around. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Viviane November 21, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Rachael! Thank you so much for your wonderful words and feedback. I am very glad to know the site is easy to navigate… I spent a good deal of time figuring out how to make it as clean and simple as possible. Thank you also for stopping by. It’s lovely to hear from you. Have a beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving!


torviewtoronto November 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm

beautiful pictures
delicious radish


Balvinder November 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm

When I see new vegetable in market I always buy and try cooking it by looking some recipe on internet. These radish look as delicious as fruits.
Have you changed your layout or I did not pay attention last time I visited? Have a great week ahead!


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