This simple veggie spread will knock you out first with its speckled-magenta beauty. Then you'll be impressed by how it synthesizes the old-school delight of peppery, cool radishes from the garden, dabbed with a dot of good butter and a pinch of salt. Spread it on rye toast points, unsalted crackers, celery sticks, endive leaves, or crunchy romaine hearts. We got the idea for radish butter from our Nashville friend Mindy Merrell, the co-author, with her guy, R. B. Quinn, of Cheater BBQ: Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather. For folks who call themselves “cheater chefs,” they sure don't skimp on anything, and they come up with ideas that are simple and original and damned delicious. We think you'll agree “clever chefs” is more like it.
1/2 pound round red radishes, trimmed, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, completely softened
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or ½ teaspoon Maldon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
About 24 thinly sliced rye toast points, toasted slices of French bread, water crackers, 2-inch celery sticks, endive leaves, or romaine heart halves
1. Put the radishes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the radish is chopped into very fine dice, four or five 3-second pulses.
2. Transfer the contents to a length of cheesecloth or a double thickness of paper towels and wring out the excess liquid.
3. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 tablespoons of the butter.
4. With a rubber spatula, cream the radish and butter together, adding more butter 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together in a smooth, pliable mass.
5. Transfer the mixture to a 2-cup ramekin or bowl, sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top, and serve immediately. (The butter will keep, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
6. Remove it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to let it soften. Sprinkle the salt and freshly ground pepper over the radish butter before serving).
Reprinted from The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor by Matt and Ted Lee. Copyright © 2009 Published by Clarkson Potter
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