Forgive the novice gardener a melodramatic observation: growing food from seeds is amazing! I pressed a few tiny specks into the dirt, watered faithfully, and hoped something would happen. Something did: a neat little row of twin-leaved seedlings. That’s great, I reported to my mother, but I can’t quite bring myself to believe they’re going to become actual vegetables. They will, she said.
Growing vegetables is, for me, a little like having a baby (but without the massive responsibility and boundless love, of course). I saw two pink lines on a stick — twice — but couldn’t wrap my head around the eventuality of a new little person until the moment he (and she) arrived. And I didn’t really believe those seedlings would become radishes until I saw their blushing heads break the surface of the soil.
With great anticipation and pride, I pulled up about a dozen from the garden this morning, and used them in a recipe I found on the back of the seed packet. Mine are an elegant, oblong variety called d’Avignon or breakfast radish, which have a mild zing and juicy crunch, but regular red radishes will work as well. I think the salad is absolutely delicious — and not just because I grew the radishes myself.
Cucumber and radish salad
Adapted from From the Cook’s Garden by Ellen Ogden
6 radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced
2 cucumbers, trimmed and very thinly sliced
1 tbsp. kosher salt
3 scallions, white and light green parts only, very thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/3 c. unseasoned rice vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss radishes and cucumbers with salt in a colander. Set aside for about half an hour.
Rinse radishes and cucumbers under cool running water, then press gently between your palms to remove excess moisture. Toss in a bowl with scallions, dill, vinegar, and a few grindings of pepper.
Marinate at least 30 minutes or overnight. Serve chilled.