Butter Dipped Radishes with Sea Salt

Right now, I'm finding the radishes at the farmers markets irresistible.  Back in October, I dinned at Daniel Humm's NoMad in New York City.  The star on the menu were these butter-dipped radishes with fleur del sel.  Since then, they've been in the back of my head.... "I'm going to try making these one day!"  That day has come.  It took a lot of playing with the butter, getting the consistency just right for dipping.  You know I like to play with my food.  This is such a simple, indulgent, festive treat for the holidays.  And it holds pretty well in the fridge.  It would pair well with my long-standing Christmas tradition morning treat of smoked oysters and cream cheese on crackers with mimosas.  These flavors are simple and clean with the crisp spiciness of the radishes with the creaminess of the butter and the salt to bring it to life.  Make sure to use very good quality unsalted butter.  I used Irish butter.  For salt, use whatever floats your boat.  I just had fun with different varieties I had on hand.  Note on radishes - I thought the fingerling ones would look nice, but now I know the regular ones would actually be easier to dip. I'll have to make another batch for Christmas morning.

Butter-Dipped Radishes with Sea Salt
 - radishes, 1 bunch
 - unsalted butter, 1-2 sticks, room temperature
 - sea salt

Clean and dry the rashes well, leaving a tiny decorative top to make it easy to dip. Keep cold in fridge until butter is ready for dipping.

In a really tiny sauce pan, overly extremely low heat, slowly melt a half stick of butter with stirring.  Remove from heat once almost melted.  Slowly add in pat by pat of the non-melted butter into the melted butter.  This takes some time and patience.  This is called tempering the butter; getting it into an amorphous state of where it's somewhere in between being a liquid and a solid.  It's pretty cool.  This is the state in which the radish is dipped, actually hangs onto in a nice, substantial thickness.  The trick in tempering the butter is to have plenty on-hand at room temp, not melted. Add that in pat by pat with stirring after each addition until melted. You want to butter almost like a hollandaise sauce.  That's when it's perfect for dipping.  You have to work this fairly quickly, so pretend you're a dipping and salting manufacturing line.  Have a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment for the butter-dipped radishes and a little dish of salt to sprinkle on immediately after each radish has been coated.  Another option is to put a little pile of salt on the platter to dip as needed while eating - this is probably the better option.  Either way don't worry, they don't have to be perfect.  Sometimes there is more beauty in the imperfect.  Besides, these get eaten so quickly, no one will care too much about the aesthetics.  Happy holidays!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  This week we're focusing on produce inspired holiday side dishes.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest.  Here are other awesome holiday side dishes to try out:   

Feed Me Phoebe: Stir-Fried Collard Greens with Ginger and Jalapeno
The Heritage Cook: 
Sweet & Lightly Spicy Corn Pudding
The Lemon Bowl: 
Sweet Potato and Corn Hash
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Clean Eating Holiday Side Dish Recipes
Cranberry Apple Chutney
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Spices
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Cranberry-Pistachio Pilaf
Taste with the Eyes: 
Fresh Green Beans, Mexican-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Pesto
Red or Green? 
Green Chile Pork Stew (v2) and Tamales 
Virtually Homemade: 
Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate
Domesticate Me: 
Farro Risotto with Prosciutto, Parmesan and Brussels Sprouts
The Sensitive Epicure: 
Butter Dipped Radishes with Sea Salt
Best Holiday Dressing
FN Dish: 
No-Brainer Holiday Sides