Poached Radishes With White Wine, Chicken Stock, and Butter

May 8, 2019 Updated: May 8, 2019

Poached Radishes With White Wine, Chicken Stock, and Butter

This dish is a nod to one of my mentors, Skye Gyngell. I was just out of cooking school when she welcomed me into her kitchen at London’s Petersham Nurseries. I spent a month watching and learning over her shoulder. Every day we ate together as a staff, and I was included. One day, by the time Skye went to get her plate, all the staff meal was gone—gobbled up by the rest of us animals. She walked unfazed to the stove and pulled together this dish. She returned to our table with a bowl of silken pale pink radishes and a torn piece of crusty bread. As we talked through menu items and concerns about service, she dunked the pieces of bread in the bowl and eased my fears. She now owns Spring in London, and the furniture is the color of radish poaching liquid. She, like this dish, always reminds me to allow space for the suaveness of simple and pristine things.

Serves 4

  • 2 bunches radishes (2 pounds), greens removed (if nice, reserve for another purpose)
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice (1 1/2 fluid ounce)

If the radishes are vastly different sizes, halve or quarter the largest ones to be roughly the same size as the small ones. In a medium saucepan, combine the wine and stock with a big pinch of salt. When bubbling, add the radishes and reduce to a simmer; the liquid should just cover the radishes.

Cook until the radishes are just cooked through, about 6 minutes—they will be soft, with a touch of crispness still in the center. If the liquid is reduced and slightly syrupy, add the butter. If the liquid is still very thin, remove the radishes with a slotted spoon, bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce by half.

Add the butter and lemon zest and juice, let the butter melt, and spoon the liquid over the radishes. Serve with a big pinch of salt and grind of black pepper.

Reprinted with permission from “Ruffage” by Abra Berens, copyright 2019. Published by Chronicle Books.

“Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables” by Abra Berens (Chronicle, $35).
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