Radish Sammages: a simple-but-perfect summer lunch

I planted quite a large patch of radishes in my garden early this spring, with dreams of eating as many radishes as I could possibly hold–of course!–but also on selling bunches at our first Farmer’s Market in May, at which time the radishes would hopefully be at that perfect point of readiness.  Crisp and sweet and juicy and with just that perfect hint of sharpness.  Yum.

And everything went just as planned, for once, radish-wise.

I pampered those radishes, weeding and watering and thinning and uttering words of encouragement to their little radish ears.  They developed in a lovely manner at the right time and they were just at that perfect point of readiness for our first Farmer’s Market, as I had hoped.  I pulled heaps of them and bunched and cleaned and polished them, and they lay gleaming shyly from the cooler on the day of our first market.

I love it when a plan comes together so well, don’t you?

I knew they wouldn’t be so good the next week–radishes don’t stay at that perfect point for more than a few days, before they get woody and bitter and only worthy of being thrown to the chickens, as you probably know.

Yes, my plan went just perfectly. This doesn’t happen very often, Gentle Readers, by the way. So often something goes awry, does it not?  But I hadn’t planned on that dumb tornado ruining everything.

Look at these! SO beautiful!

Look at these! SO beautiful!

Tornadoes so often do, you know. Ruin everything.

It was the first night of market. We had our wares laid out nicely on our tables (including the heaps of gorgeous radishes) but (as we so often are) we were a bit nervous about the weather.  There was a 60% chance, according to weather websites, of storms that afternoon. So the weather could go either way.  40% our way.  We knew one thing 100%–if we had decided to stay home, the sun would have come out and the birds would have sung merrily and the weatherman would have laughed “I goofed!” and we would have felt very foolish, indeed.

So we went.

I don’t have a smart phone, by the way.  I don’t think I’m smart enough to own one, and I actually lost my non-smart phone, so all we could do was to question passers-by, who all were scurrying past and studying their smart phones. It went something like this:

Me:  “Is the storm coming this way, can you tell me, please?”

Passing gentleman: “Naw–it looks like it’s going to miss us.  It’s all going to go north of here, as usual. You’re gonna be fine, just fine.  No worries.”

(Five minutes later) Me:  “Could you tell me, please, what the current radar looks like?”

Distracted Woman: “Sure–oh my!–we’re in a tornado watch and it looks like it’s heading straight for us. I’m going home to my basement! You’d better run, too!”

(Two minutes later) Me:  “Excuse me, ma’am, but what’s the current weather situation?”

Windblown woman, dragging two children:  “Ah–let’s see–hmm . . . you might have fifteen minutes before it hits. Then–tornadoes, hail, wind, torrential rains, pretty much you’ve had it at that point.”

Me: “Thank you.”  Gulp.

So we did a rapid and frenzied business for  twenty minutes or so, with smart-phone-studying customers, and then everybody abruptly started diving into their cars, with one eye on the quickly darkening sky, and one eye on their collective smart phones. Everybody but us, that is.

Since a few people were still grabbing things from our tables and pushing cash in our direction, we stayed put, for the moment.

And then a kind gentleman parked his car in a spot near us, jumped out and strode toward us nervously.  “Just thought you folks should know . . . . we’ve sent the storm spotters out, and we’re in a tornado warning,” he said solemnly.  “There’s a tornado on the ground about thirty miles away and it’s heading this way.  I thought I’d tell you, since ya’all look like the clueless sort who don’t own smart phones.”

Hmph. (He didn’t really say that last part, but I could tell that he was thinking it.  Clearly.)

That’s all we needed to hear.  We tossed the rest of our baked goods into the boxes and tossed them with the (yes) heaps of radishes into our vehicles in just minutes, only getting drenched thoroughly when the rain started to fall heavily. But we saved the pies.

Now this is why I use the word “only.”  As we all note here in the Midwest, nearly on a daily basis, it could have been so much worse.

After all, this tornado was headed our way.

But we made it out of there in one piece.  It was quite an adventure, one that I don’t want to repeat any time soon. Especially the part where Amalia and I, drenched to the proverbial bone, had to huddle between the Wal-Mart freezer sections for a half an hour because of the tornado warning and the lock-down of the store.  Everybody there had smart phones but us, of course, so all we could do for entertainment for the entire half an hour, besides laugh at each other’s blue lips and goosebumps and developing chilblains, was to review sign language terms that Amalia had learned. And to chuckle through our chattering teeth.

“You’re a squirrel.”

“He’s a gorilla.”

“We have no pie.”  Such handy phrases.

I had an escape plan all figured out, if the manager would have actually pushed us into the freezer section. I was going to run to the household department and rip open a few packages of blankets, first, and wrap several around us.  Then I was going to find me a cup of coffee.  Surely in that cavernous store there was a hot beverage.  I was so cold.

But that didn’t happen.  Eventually the smart-phone-wielding folks saw that the tornado warning had been cancelled and we all went our own, blue-lipped, soaked-to-the-skin and drowned-rat ways.

So what is the purpose of this tale, you might be wondering, and well that you should, Gentle Reader.  This is the point:  we had lots of radishes to carry home that night.  Heaps and piles of them, which we handed out willy-nilly to anybody who wanted them, and then still we had bunches to stick in the refrigerator when we got home.

And we’ve been eating radish sammages every day since.  I’m so happy that the kiddos enjoy these particular summertime delights as much as I do!  So–just in case you may be hankering for a new idea for what to do with the extra radishes in your refrigerator or garden, here’s a simple but perfect summer lunch idea for you.

This is just as tasty and satisfying as it looks!

This is just as tasty and satisfying as it looks!

Ah, yes, the quintessential Radish Sammage! The very taste of summertime, between two slices of toasted bread.  Here’s how you make one for yourself!

Toast lightly two pieces of good bread, and spread just a skiff of butter on it while it’s hot, so it melts nicely. You could do something else here, like use a bit of mustard or a little bit of mayonnaise, but we prefer the butter with the radishes.

Layer on the bread, in any order you like (it’s a free country):  lettuce + sweet onion slices + radish slices + a slice of a soft cheese of your preference (we used queso fresco, which is lovely) + more lettuce.  Grind fresh pepper and salt (we like the pink Himalayan the best) all over the whole thing, and you’re done! Ta-daa! The perfect summer lunch, made in less than five minutes.

Try one today–or tomorrow, if you need to go pull (or buy) some radishes, first.  And then, let me know what you think!



26 thoughts on “Radish Sammages: a simple-but-perfect summer lunch

  1. Chef William

    Sounds great and we always have queso fresco on hand, or some other cheese produced in the kitchens of friends and relatives. As for the bread, I do believe we will use some fresh made flour tortillas and make roll-up. Sans the butter, If there is one think that Mexico can not get a handle on, it is butter. They produce the worst tasting butter in the world. There is Walmart of course, but I’ll go with a light salsa. Perhaps add a couple of sliced, peeled cucumbers. Sounds like lunch to me. Tonight we’re having Grilled eggplant, portabella mushroom, wood-roasted red pepper and zucchini, with goat cheese and black olive tapenade on toasted country bread…which will pretty much round out the day.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh, you are a savvy one, Chef, to bring in those yummy flour tortillas! My mouth is just watering at the description of your lunch AND your supper. How do you not weigh 300 pounds?? I love portabella mushrooms. 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thank you, Arla! I still (STILL) have some radishes in the ‘fridge, so I’m going to try that for supper tonight! Much appreciated! 🙂

  2. Courtney

    What an adventure!! You seemed so calm, cool, and collected. I am not sure I would have been. I always struggle with radishes and how to use them. Why did I not think of adding them to a sandwich? I will next time!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Courtney, I read a French cookbook once that said that radishes are great with a dab of butter, then s&P, and it’s true! I can eat a very large amount of them, just standing at the counter, smearing a dab of butter and then grinding s&p on them. Yum. I really wasn’t that cool, calm, & etc., by the way. I was just so wet and cold that I was numb to any further pain, I believe. 🙂

  3. Anne Dovel

    mmmm….Radish sandwiches! How I love thee. Let me count the days! 🙂

    So…I tried to be a smart aleck with your anti-spam quiz and said… well steam, of course. It didn’t let me post. 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      My blog doesn’t like smart-alecks. There are so many smart-alecky spammers, like the gal who wants me to check out her luis vuitton purses, and the guy that wants to sell me on a pay-day loan, or two. So my blog is a bit cranky about this, and I apologize. I’m thinking about stir-frying radishes tonight, with steak. What think you?

  4. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    Because I had too many experiences with hot, terrible red radishes from the supermarket as a child, I stay away from radishes although I admit they are fun (and easy) to grow. We used to grow Easter Egg radishes when we lived out in the country. I must admit there is something appealing about the sandwich you suggest (except for the butter part). I was going to try, by the way, to use the alternate answer for your anti-spam quiz just to see what would happen. Glad to see someone else had the same idea.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Alana, you and my sister Anne would get along just fine, with you both trying to outwit my spam quiz. Haha! 😉

  5. Wendy Bottrell

    Had a storm follow me when I drove through the mid west a few years ago. Interesting experience. Radishes are a great favorite in our house. I do not eat wheat, grain or gluten so this is how radishes are made in our house. Thinly sliced with onions that are thinly sliced, sea salt and full fat organic sour cream. Oh so delicious. Thanks for sharing another great experience. Best Regards, Wendy

  6. Deb Dutilh

    What a tale! I am so glad you are safe and sound, humor intact and so charmingly delightful even more so without your smart phone! I am sure that man was thinking exactly what you wrote, too! Radishes are one of my all time favorites, especially the black ones I miss from France and have yet to see in Los Angeles. Sliced on crispy baguettes with sea-salt butter is all I need!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I’ve never had black radishes, but now I’m going to have to find some seed for them . . . that sounds delicious!

  7. Carolina HeartStrings

    Yikes – your posts are always so full of things to comment on. I assume it wasn’t you standing around taking video. I mean very interesting to have, but this girl would have been long gone. I think I’ll take our hurricane exposure over tornadoes any day. Not that a hurricane can’t spawn a tornado but still. It is nice to SLOWLY watch a hurricane develop. AND outstanding photos above. Be safe our mid-western friend.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      NO, that wasn’t me taking the video! I should have mentioned that I got it from You-Tube, and whose it was. I love to watch storm clouds, but when I see that rotation that signifies tornado winds, I head for the basement! The hair will stand up on my arms, trully! Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.