In early summer, there is an open-faced sandwich that brings a smile to my heart and a crunch to my mouth. It’s not hard to make, and it’s worth the extra items you may not regularly carry. The sandwich has three ingredients: a wonderful dark bread, unsalted butter, and radishes. That’s it.
Any dark bread will do. I especially recommend the very flat, dark bread that looks like seeds and grains pressed together. Yoga bread, a dark loaf studded with sunflower seeds and cranberries is good too, as is a fresh, dark pumpernickel. White or wheat bread just won’t do. Part of the delight of this treat is the way it looks, and a pale bread doesn’t carry any contrast.
About the butter: it has to be real butter and it has to be unsalted. Margarine won’t work, and you don’t want to eat the chemicals in it, much less taste them. Ugh.
So, fresh butter it is. Unsalted is best because you can add as much salt as you want on top of the sandwich, but a salted butter spoils the pure flavors about to greet your mouth. Leave the butter out of the refrigerator until it is easy to cut, but watch out that on a hot day it doesn’t get too mushy.
The radishes should be the red kind. French breakfast radishes, red with white tips, and elongated are good. That’s a picture of them on the left. Make sure they are fresh. Old radishes are hot, and not what’s called for here.
Take at least five radishes, wash and trim the root off. Float them in a small bowl of ice water for about 20 minutes. Slice them thin. You can use a mandolin if you like, but stick a fork in the end of the radish so you don’t cut yourself. (A mandolin is a flat piece of wood or plastic with a long blade flush mounted at an angle into the surface. Looks innocent but will take a finger right off.)
Take a slice of bread, butter it to your liking, add sliced radishes, salt with kosher salt if you like, and enjoy! Summer is here!
(c) Quinn McDonald, 2007. See more about life- and creativity coaching, writing, daydreaming and artwork at QuinnCreative.com Radish image: gourmetseeds.com Mandolin: kitchenclassics.com Sandwich: whatscookingamerica.net