This just became my favorite warm salad. A bite of this dish sports that earthy flavor of the cooked radish (somewhat akin to a roasted Brussels sprout), the saltiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the orange juice, the slight bitterness of the radish greens, and it makes mouths happy.
My favorite way to cook bacon is in the oven. If you have a thin cut, you want to use a lower heat, like 250 degrees, and thicker cuts can withstand 350 degrees. You place a baking rack inside of a jelly roll pan and the fat just drips right down as the bacon cooks, and scrapes out easily once it’s cooled. In my opinion the bacon still requires a patting down with a paper towel the remove the extra fat, but it’s much less significant than when it’s pan-fried.
And while we’re on the subject of bacon, may I just say that my entire life I have eaten commercial bacon, whatever was available in the standard grocery store. Recently I bought into a couple of meat CSAs and have received bacon in my shares and Whoa!- what a difference. Farm bacon is noticeably less salty and even the smoked varieties are much less smoky. I love it! You can typically also find good bacon at farmer’s markets and some farm stores. You aren’t going to find it on sale for $2.50, but your taste buds will thank you for the upgrade.
For more information on local MA organic farms, check this link out.
- 1/4 pound bacon, cut into a 1-inch dice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 bunch of radishes with their greens—radishes quartered lengthwise and greens chopped into ribbons
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 1 cup orange juice
- In a 350 degree oven, bake the bacon to perfection on a baking rack in a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes.
- In a cast iron frying pan place 2 tablespoons of butter and melt over a moderately high heat
- Add the radish greens, season with salt and pepper and cook until wilted (about 3 minutes)
- Scrape the greens into a bowl and set aside
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. While the butter is melting, cut your cooked bacon into a 1-inch dice
- Add the radish quarters and let them start to brown up in the pan, solo, for a few minutes
- Add the shallots and bacon chunks and cook over a moderately high heat, until the radishes are golden brown (5- 6 minutes)
- Add the sugar (or honey) and cook for another 2 minutes, until it’s completely dissolved
Add the orange juice and bring it to a boil, stirring a few times, until the radishes are just tender and the sauce is slightly thickened (about 2 minutes)
- Stir in the radish greens, season with salt and pepper and serve
We had this warm salad as a side to butternut squash soup and it was lovely. The soup was very mild so the sweet and salty tones of the salad really stood out.
The inspiration for this dish came from this recipe in Food and Wine.