Radishes With Butter And Salt (And Moments Of Perfection)

Radishes with butter and salt, a perfect trio.

Late post today. Our eldest and I went to the Giants game last night and stayed late to watch Matt Cain pitch the franchise’s first perfect game in 130 years. As we occasionally hint in the blog, all of us are lifelong Giants fans. We have seen Bonds’ home runs, All-Star games, Timmy’s Cy Youngs, World Series losses and (glorious) victory and everything in between. And there was nothing quite like the perfect game. Everything comes together in one game. A brief, brilliant spark of pure joy and surprise. And for the players it was the moment when the orchestra is perfectly in tune and the conductor is at his best. A sweet reward for a lifetime of effort.

But in baseball, it is a lifetime of effort that is always filled with failure. Even the best baseball players fail, in some way, in almost every game. The best learn to accept failure and build more towards a lifetime body of work. That is what makes perfect games or championships so special. Not simply that you were the best on “X” day, but because the players must overcome failure to get there. Success is all the sweeter when reached through failure. You grow, you improve, you build.

Mixed radishes, fresh from our garden.

If you garden or cook (or simply raise a family) this should ring true. While you may not toil in the spotlight, gardening and cooking are a lifetime of successes and failures. And some you simply cannot control. The beds were perfect, you checked the soil, picked the right seeds and watered on time. But the blight or frost came anyway. Green became brown. Fail. You picked the perfect recipe, shopped on time, did your prep and cooked like a pro. But the guests came late, one of the kids sprained an ankle and the roast stayed in the oven too long. Medium-burnt. Fail.

But after a few well-placed “words”, you start again. There is always the next meal, day, week, season and year. And when the successes come they are sweet, and they are shared with those you love. When the cocktail is tasty and the guests are happily chatting, the kids eat the (perfect) fish and the dessert made from the fruit that you grew has been totally devoured, then you have it. A perfect meal, a perfect day, a perfect moment. And well-earned. And well-remembered. Think of those moments, and we bet you have a few that stick with you, and those you love, to this day. Brief, brilliant sparks of love, joy and content. The glow from those sparks lasts a long time.

In the garden, harvest is often that special moment. This week we have cherries, berries and radishes. More on the fruit soon, but as for the radishes we will give you a “perfect” recipe to enjoy any time. Fresh radishes with butter and salt. How do we know it’s perfect? Because pretty much every celebrity cook, cookbook author and blogger has posted a version of this recipe at some time or other. But since we actually grew these radishes, we (selfishly) think we can post on it too. And it is a very tasty, and easy, dish.

And we are big fans of radishes, both as cooks and gardeners. In the home garden radishes are a great crop. They grow to harvest in 3-4 weeks (the name comes from the Greek Raphanus meaning “quickly appearing”), work in many climates and compliment many cuisines. Radishes grow in spring and fall, so we stagger our crop over a few weeks to get radishes though most of both seasons. And, frankly, they are hard to mess up. While gardening is filled with failures, crops like zucchini and radishes do offer the opportunity for a few “quick wins”- and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

While we like quick-pickling radishes or using them for crunch and heat in salads, we usually just eat them out of hand. We enjoy their crunch and light, peppery heat (the kids like them too, so that is a big bonus). Serving radishes with butter and salt simply creates a more balanced dish. The sweet, creamy butter and the salt add more dimension to the radish. And all you need to do is slice some radishes and put some butter and salt into a few bowls and serve. This is a great summer dish- easy, but full of flavor.

So while sometimes “perfection” comes hard, this dish makes it easy. Grow some radishes, or buy some at your farmers market, and try this dish on a warm summer day. Rarely will success come so quickly…

Radishes With Butter And Salt:

Notes Before You Start:

  • Any “eating” radish will do for this dish. The fresher, the better.

What You Get: One of the best ways to serve radishes. A great summer snack.

What You Need: No special equipment required.

How Long? Less that five minutes of active time. As long as you have the radishes, this is an “anytime” dish.


(Serves 6-8 as a snack)

  • 8-12 radishes, trimmed and washed
  • Sweet butter in a serving bowl
  • Coarse kosher or sea salt in a serving bowl


  1. Slice radishes into small disks or pieces. Arrange on plate with butter and salt. Serve.

22 thoughts on “Radishes With Butter And Salt (And Moments Of Perfection)

  1. Here in Houston we’re trying to be happy for the Giants, even though their perfect game was against the Astros (I’m a Cardinals fan, myself). I am happy you gave me a new way to serve dishes, though. I love them, but am always at a loss as to what to do with them. I will have to try this!

  2. I almost pulled one of my radishes up from the garden, but resisted. I don’t think they are quite ready yet. Interesting idea with butter … I’ll give it a try. I’ve only eaten them with salt or in salads. Hey … I’m up to trying almost anything! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  3. Stunning photos … never thought about butter on radishes … I eat our new potatoes like that .. still warm with butter and salt on. Food for Gods

  4. Thanks for reading. Those potatoes sound great (and we do something similar with brown butter and potatoes- yum).

    Think of the radish as the pepper that goes with the butter and salt…it really tastes that way…but very light.

  5. We have a friendly Dodgers-Giants rivalry with my cousin who lives in the Bay area….must say that was a special game. So glad you and your “eldest”–don’t know if we’re talking son or daughter 🙂 could attend! The radishes are really beautiful and I’ve never considered such a simple way to eat them, but I will now! They would make a great little appetizer! Debra

    • Thanks. Eldest is a son who is playing little league- so very special.

      Glad to see dodgers back in form, not much of a rivalry unless both teams are good…

  6. You brought so many “radish” memories back with your story. When we were little, my grandma used to serve radish sandwiches for lunch. Basically the same idea, sliced radishes on white bread slathered with butter. So simple, but so delicious. Thanks for the memory!

  7. Wow, this brings back memories! My mom used to make finger sandwiches with sliced radish, butter and salt back on our farm. Such simple treats.

  8. I’ll have to try this. I have a plethora of radishes at the moment, not to mention a ton of butter from our blind butter taste test. This is just the post I needed to read tonight!

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