Recipe: Radish Salad From the Kitchen Window column

Radish Salad

April Bloomfield, from whose book A Girl and Her Pig (Ecco 2012) this recipe is adapted, calls this hands-on salad "the claw" because it involves sticking your hands in the bowl and "smooshing and bruising" the ingredients to really bring out the flavors. The idea is to smoosh the cheese just enough that some of it gets creamy and thickens the dressing while the rest holds its shape — what Bloomfield calls "little nuggets of salty sharpness." Because radishes and butter are a classic duo and radishes are at their peak, this is a perfect spring salad. Use all one kind of radish or a mixture. I use a mix of mustard greens to give it a little extra bite, but use greens of your choice.

Bonny Wolf for NPR
Radish Salad
Bonny Wolf for NPR

Makes 4 servings

1 pound radishes (about 25), topped, tailed and cut into large bite-sized pieces

Small handful basil leaves

Flaky sea salt

2 1/2-ounce chunk of Parmesan, cut into slices, some thick and some thin

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 small handfuls arugula or mixed mustard greens

Just before you serve, combine the radishes, basil and 3 healthy pinches of salt in a big bowl. Grab a handful of the mixture at a time and smoosh the basil and salt against the radishes for about 30 seconds to release the basil's aromatic oils. Add the cheese and do some more smooshing with the radishes until some of the cheese goes creamy, some is in little chunks and some is still in larger dime-sized chunks.

Add lemon juice and olive oil and toss well. Add the greens and toss. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice, to taste.