I started cooking radishes (a French specialty), and now must add “eat more cooked radishes” to my growing to-do list. But I don’t mind––the busier and the more cooked radishes, the better (an old French adage, I’m sure).
Of course, being busy leaves little time to dillydally in the kitchen. Quick, healthy, and easy is the name of the game. Braised lentils made into a complete meal with radishes, fava beans, and mint (fresh from the side of my house, I’ll have you know), comes together in under an hour. Most of this is hands-off time, so you can tick a few more boxes off your to-do list.
I will recommend one thing more “to-do” while you’re cooking though: stop and smell the butter melting––it makes messing up the kitchen a little all worth it, and takes but a second. Also worth noting is this recipe’s colour palate––supremely vernal (eat your heart out Benjamin Moore).
Saying that, it is a very pretty dish, but doesn’t taste at all precious. It’s deeply savoury and earthy from the lentils, with the bright pop of fresh spring produce, and just a whisper of butter in the background.
You may even feel a bit of highfalutin sophistication wash over you while working your way through the plate. I know when I ate this, I felt extremely sophisticated, like a girl sitting at a Parisian sidewalk café, watching the world go by, contemplating big ideas. I felt like I had all the time in the world to dillydally and eat buttery lentils and radishes and fava beans and read Hemingway.
If only for a moment.
- 1 cup uncooked brown lentils or lentils du puy
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 bunch (1/2 pound) radishes, greens intact, halved
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- ½ cup fresh, shelled or frozen, defrosted fava beans (see note for preparation instructions)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup fresh chopped mint
- In a large saucepan, cover lentils with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium, partially cover, and cook until tender (15 to 20 minutes). Drain.
- In a large high sided skillet, melt butter over medium. Add radishes and radish greens, sautéing for 1 minute, followed by cooked lentils, stock, fava beans, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in mint immediately before serving.
Fava beans can be labelled as 'broad beans' and are available fresh in spring and summer, as well as frozen and dried year-round.