Radishes. Butter. Salt.
For whatever reason this classic combination of three things that I already had established that I loved in their separate lives, hadn’t really struck me as something I needed in my life together until I sat down at the bar at Bluebeard here in Indianapolis. My friend and I were at the bar waiting on some friends to join us and I saw radishes as an appetizer option on the bar menu. We ordered, we smeared, we salted, we ate. WE LOVED.
What should come as no surprise to anyone– the French figured out the combination of a spicy radish with a creamy butter and some coarse salt cut the heat of the raw radish and basically awakens the tastebuds. Take these three ingredients and put them between a classic french baguette and you have a damn fancy French picnic sandwich.
The trick to the sandwich is to not skimp on the butter. First– pop your collar and channel your inner Ina and invest in some good cultured butter (As far as readily available brands, I like Plugra, but if you can get your hands on some local cultured butter– definitely get that). Secondly– think of the butter more like mayo or any other condiment for a sandwich instead of like holy-shit that’s a lot of butter when you smear it on the sandwich. A low butter to radish ratio can leave you with a weirdly kind of dry spicy sandwich instead of the life-changing vegetarian sandwich it is. The sandwich can be edited in lots of ways, you can add herbs to the butter or whip it before spreading. I like it with coarse salt and some dressed greens.
Makes 4 small sandwiches (depending on your baguette) | Inspired by the French
One standard-size baguette
8 Tbsp (one stick) salted cultured “good” butter– softened
8-10 medium radishes, sliced very thin (use a mandolin if you have one!)
Coarse Salt (I use Maldon Sea Salt)
~3 Cups of lightly packed arugula
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & Pepper
Chives/Chervil/Tarragon- chef’s choice
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise and put it cut-side up on your work surface. Smear each side with half a stick (4 oz) of butter. Sprinkle a tsp of coarse salt on each baguette half on top of the butter. Spread the radishes over the butter and gently press down.
For the greens- in a separate bowl, toss the greens, olive oil, lemon juice, and season with pepper if desired. Spread the dressed greens on one side of the sandwich and press the halves together, pressing slightly. Using a serrated knife, cut baguette into four equal sandwiches.