YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Mario Batali’s Radishes Al Cartoccio

I’m gonna take a guess that you’ve always eaten your radishes fresh and raw, like in salads. I can certainly promise you that was the case for me up until just a couple of years ago. But then I began to cook them, and it was a whole new game. Like onions, cooked radishes release their bite to ease into a lovely, complex kind of sweetness with an entirely new set of flavors.

Here’s a little gift of a recipe from the great chef Mario Batali. Its name, Radishes Al Cartoccio, means that the radishes are wrapped and then cooked inside a package, in this case foil. I’ve also seen salmon cooked al cartoccio, as in this wonderful recipe from Cook for Your Life.

I even remember making burgers this way, as a kid. Preparations for going camping included a pile of packets consisting of hamburger patties from the previous year’s steer, thick slices of onion and green pepper, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. We placed them in the cooler for the ride, and then tossed them into the coals as soon as the fire was established. This was our traditional first evening meal while camping.

You can make all kinds of things al cartoccio — let your imagination steam away.

2 pounds large mixed radishes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. summer savory leaves, finely chopped (substitute fresh thyme if you want)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Cut two sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, approx. 16 x 12-inch, and lay them out with the short ends toward you.
3. Combine the radishes, onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and savory in a large bowl. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently and mix well.
4. Divide the mixture in two, placing half in the center of each piece of foil. Fold the short foil edges up and over the mixture, doubling over the edges twice to form a tight seal. Then fold up the side edges in the same way to form two tightly sealed packets.
5. Place both packets on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter, and allow to rest for 10 minutes, unopened.
6. Bring the platter to the table, and then slice open the packets right at the table for dramatic effect. You can use tongs for the radishes, but remember to include a serving spoon to collect the juices.

Serves 8-10 (side dish).

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Three Delicious Salad Dressings

Have you ever noticed how so many different cuisines include a dish that pairs some type of greens with some type of fat? Whether it’s lettuce and olive oil, cabbage and mayonnaise (cole slaw), sauteed greens + pignola nuts, spinach with bacon dressing, or deep-sea fatty fish and seaweed (sushi), parsley salad with tahini dressing, you are apt to find green leaves combined with fats over and over again. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Kale Salad Like You’ve Never Imagined

Here’s another fabulous recipe from Sweet Amandine‘s Jessica Fechtor, just in case one wasn’t enough! You will not be sorry. In case you were wondering, kale happens to be one of those cold-weather vegetables that continues to grow even after the first frost. In fact, sometimes it seems like the frost kicks it into high gear. Try this recipe with whatever kale you can get your hands on, whether from the grocery store, or your own garden, or someone else’s. And thank you! to my friend Suze, who stopped by this week with a big bunch of kale from her family’s own prodigious garden. Continue reading