4 ounces soft Compound Butter
1 pound Watermelon Radishes
Large flake Sea Salt
There are some vegetables that are so beautiful we eat them with our eyes as much as our mouths. Take carrots, for example. Most are orange, delicious, and beautiful enough. But put an ordinary carrot next to the variety called Purple Haze, and you’ll see cousins, one bright orange and the other with an inner circle the color of an eggplant. What’s the difference in taste? In a blind taste test, not much. But take a look at what you’re eating, and the purple carrot wins. Any vegetable that looks like it’s been touched with a watercolor set has the beauty advantage. And this is why salted watermelon radishes with butter are one of my very favorite party foods.
Watermelon radishes tend to make their appearance in the mid- to late summer. They’re larger than the classic Cherry Belles, and they can range in size from an inch in diameter to as many as 4 or 5. They are deceptively plain on the outside, smooth as an egg, with a pale white skin that is both pink and green tinged at the same time. Slice through its middle, and you see the watermelon. The center holds a perfect circle of bright pink, surrounded by an outer layer of lime green. It is the most impressive vegetable I know, and it needs very little to make it party ready. They also store well in the refrigerator, so I stock up in the fall, and they stay crisp and ready through New Year’s and beyond. Radishes and butter is a time-honored pair, and this is a great way to present it. Use any compound butter, but some of my favorites here are thyme, tarragon, and chives.
Scoop the butter into a small dish or ramekin, and place it in the center of a large platter. Lay the radish slices out in a single layer around the butter. Sprinkle generously with salt. Let the tray sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.