I have few memories of my grandfather. The one I remember most fondly involved some of my first culinary experiences. While on a visit to his home just outside of Chicago, he gave me my first radish lightly dipped in salt from the garden. While this may have not been my first radish, it was the first time I had a bite of a vegetable that powerful, that direct. It was a explosion of flavor and spice. I remember it like it was yesterday. Looking out the french windows of his kitchen into the lush backyard. The lighting was always low in his house. I never knew what was going pop out of the shadows.
I remember a large claw foot tub, and taking afternoon naps on a sheepskin. My dad's side of the family spent 13 years living in Paris. My grandfather was an international banker. He liked his liquor strong, he smoked from a pipe and enjoyed rich flavored food. He tried to feed me duck that he hunted and I wanted nothing to do with it. I didn't get to know him very well, and to be honest he wasn't that nice of a person. I like to remember the fond memories I shared with him. The radish will always be one.
Radish + Butter Toasts
bunch of radishes
unsalted high quality butter
maldons sea salt
1 bunch of ramps
Toast bread slices, spread a good layer of butter at room temperature. Add a thin layer of sliced radishes. Sprinkle with sea salt and place a pickled ramp on top. Perfect spring snack, a brunch idea or appetizer.
*pickled ramps I made by cleaning the thin layer on the outside of the ramp. Trimming off the greens and roots. Reserving the greens for other uses. Place ramps in a small saucepan. Cover with half vinegar, half water, enough to cover. Add a bay leaf, pinch of peppercorns, mustard seeds and salt. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes, then turn off heat. Allow to cool and place into a jar or other vessel. Keep refrigerated, should be ate within a week. Most pickle recipes add sugar, I did not and I thought they were great. I really winged it and I think you should too, adding whatever spices you may fancy. Its really easy.