Farmer’s markets are starting to swing around Louisville now. I can’t stay away, even when it’s just eggs, over-wintered greens and green tomatoes. But I was gone for a couple of weeks and voila! Every stall is overflowing with locally grown produce in every color. My farm share hasn’t started yet so I’m still shopping in earnest, not just grazing for a tidbit or two not in my CSA basket. My husband and I hit the Bardstown Road market early yesterday, left our dog in the car parked under some shade, and went our separate ways – he lined up for an omelet, and I perused each stall. I’ve learned the hard way not to buy the first I see of whatever it is I’m looking for. Three stalls down may be a better price or a better-looking specimen.
This week farmers had on offer the last of the asparagus (which I was too late for at 9), loads of strawberries, new potatoes, zucchini, green onions, hothouse tomatoes (it’ll be at least a month before the “real” thing arrives), winter greens, salad greens, herbs and, my favorite of the day, radishes in assorted Crayola colors. I feel stupid sometimes asking the farmers questions. But despite picking my share of corn, potatoes and green beans when I was a kid, I know next to nothing about farming. So I inquired if the mix of colorful and white round radishes taste any different than the usual pinky-red ones. The answer, so you don’t have to feel silly, is no. I bought a bunch, reminded of the old-fashioned Christmas lights, and made myself one of my favorite snacks when I got home – radishes and butter.
Don’t be fooled. This is a simple but lovely French treat. It’s important to use the best butter you can (I smuggled some back from Paris last week but Lotsa Pasta has some good European butters). It’s easy. Just wash your radishes and slice them. Put some butter in a small dish and mash it with a fork until it softens. Sprinkle the whole thing with sea salt. That’s it. Now dip your spicy radishes into the creamy butter and close your eyes to enjoy.