Rooting Around In Spring

It actually was in Spring, during my first trip to France, that I discovered the radish sandwich. I couldn’t believe I had lived so long without knowing about this simple, delicious, and incredibly satisfying meal.

Take spicy, salty, sweet, and buttery then place it all in one package! And if that wasn’t enough, you are treated to the crisp snap of radish, and the pleasurable crack of the crust on a fresh baguette. And let’s not forget the little bit of chew from the soft interior.

So, every Spring I wait patiently for the first and sweetest radishes of the season to appear in the Farmers Market. I can then assemble what Susan Loomis refers to in her  French Farmhouse Cookbook as “France’s finest snack”! And indeed it is. A little research told me that this is actually a staple of the provincial kitchen. Although seemingly simple, the flavors layered here are anything but provincial. I would call them sophisticated simplicity.

I have tinkered with it over the years experimenting with the addition of herbs to the butter, and my recipe follows. However in it’s simplest form it is just as delicious with a split baguette, unsalted butter, thinly sliced radishes, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel.

At Art On The Menu we swoon when we bite into this:  sweet herb butter slathered on a crusty baguette, radishes and salt, and all in under 10 minutes! What’s not to love!

Radish Sandwich

Although traditionally made with the delicate bi-colored finger width French radish, I used globe radishes above.

Serves 4 ( or sometimes 1)

1 16″ baguette
1 bunch radishes (approx 12-15 med size radishes)
3/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, or 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
fleur de sel, or any fine grained salt

Herb Butter

Combine butter and herbs. Mix well. Can be prepared anytime in advance for the flavors to meld. I sometimes prepare it days in advance. Refrigerate if preparing in advance, and remove to bring to room temp for assembling.

Radishes

Remove greens, and clean radishes well. Thinly slice. You should have approx 2 1/2 to 3 cups  for a 16″ baguette.

To Assemble

Split baguette lengthwise.

Thickly spread herb butter on both sides of the bread. Layer the radishes on, and sprinkle generously with fleur de sel. You will need quite a bit of salt to bring the flavors together. For a 16″ baguette I usually sprinkle 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of fleur de sel. Cut diagonally into serving size sandwiches.

Or set out a bowl of fleur de sel and let your guests have fun by salting their sandwiches.

After salting consume immediately: the salt brings out the liquid in the radishes. It all becomes deliciously juicy!

12 Comments
  • Chuck

    May 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    OMG. This is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tasty and SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO simple. Why can’t I eat like this (well, maybe it is a lot of butter, which is OK in my cookbook on occasion) ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the time. Is this raw food, I wonder.

  • admin

    June 3, 2009 at 8:43 am

    LOL Chuck! I don’t think butter is raw food. But this is definitely tasty! Glad you enjoyed one too!

  • Joan Nova

    June 3, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Came to you today via your listing on the foodie blogroll and I enjoyed my visit. Nice blog and art work. Very talented.

  • TonyM

    June 3, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I have never had the sandwich but I have had radishes to dip in melted butter at the start of a meal in France – delicious!

  • Melissa

    June 3, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Visited through foodie blogroll. Love your blog. Love your recipes. Love your art. Truly unique.

  • admin

    June 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Thank you for visiting Joan and Melissa!
    Tony: that sounds fantastic. An elegant version of the sandwich. I’ll try it!

  • Missy

    June 8, 2009 at 6:56 am

    this is absolutely gorgeous!!

  • admin

    June 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks Missy! let me know if you if you like it!

  • admin

    June 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks Missy! Let me know how you if you like it!

  • » The Orange Messenger

    June 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    […] although late, had finally arrived.  Soon I would be able to slather butter on my radish baguettes and anticipate that first bite of my fresh tomato […]

  • Amy

    July 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    this looks so tasty

    • admin

      July 10, 2011 at 9:24 pm

      It is Amy! And so easy!! Try it and let me know what you think.
      Delicious and easy: a winning combination 🙂