Saturday, May 8, 2010

Radish toast

Well, it has shaped up to be a miserable weekend weather-wise. This means there will be no ribs smoked for a few days. Many of the elements could be managed -- e.g. tons of smoke, lots of beer consumed, etc. -- but the real joy of such a project is sitting outside, puttering around with the fire, and enjoying the day. When it's minus a million out and pouring rain, this becomes a challenge -- add the wind and it makes it positively poopy (and a soaking wet smoker in the wind is a devil of a thing to maintain at a proper rib smokin' temperature.) All this to say, screw it, I'll cook inside.

Not to worry, though! I have a ton of recipes in the "I should do that soon" pile, so I should keep from starving. Here's one of them. It's called Platte kaas toost uit het Pajottenland in Flemish -- this translates into either "awesome snack" or "Toast from Pajottenland" depending on how pedantic you are. Inspiration for this came from The food and cooking of Belgium by Suzanne Vandyck (have I mentioned that Belgium is the centre of the universe for beer and food as far as I'm concerned?). My signed copy is probably the only one in the city, maybe even the country (!) since I stumbled across it in a bookstore in Brussles while on the way to Le Corbeau to find a pint of Chevalier (which I found -- times two -- and enjoyed A LOT).

ANYWAY, this simple snack (well maybe not so simple -- it takes half an hour to make, but only 3 seconds to eat) will give you a wonderful way to use your radishes and chervil. I should at this point apologize to Suzanne, since I somehow have a modified version of the recipe in my head, and what follows isn't exactly faithful to the source (but I'll point out where I diverge out of total respect).

First step was to go and get some radishes out of the garden. These were hiding in amongst the fava beans who are blasting past them. When you pick them, be strategic and take every other one or so, so that the ones you leave behind can benefit from the extra space and keep growing.

To make the toast, you'll need some creme fraiche (our sour cream, which is what the recipe actually calls for), a pile of radishes, a bit of butter, some green onion (I harvested some of my Egyptian onions to slow their march to world domination), a little pile of chervil (the recipe actually calls for chives, which I can't comprehend since I was sure it used chervil. In my defence, there is another chervil recipe earlier in the book. Anyhow, this mental mash-up makes for a nice piece of toast), and the bread of your choice (pick a nice rustic, dark, dense bread since this would probably cause some kind of cosmic payback if you make it on mushy white stuff out of a plastic bag).

Use about a tablespoon of creme fraiche per piece of toast, and about one tablespoon of chervil for every two tablespoons of creme fraiche. Mix the herbs and creme fraiche together. Slice the radishes as thin as you can. Toast your bread. Butter the bread (ok, maybe buttering bread that will soon be covered in cream is a bit much, but trust me, the butter makes it!). Spread a tablespoon of the creme fraiche/chervil mixture on each slice of toast. Top with the radishes. Add a sprinkle of chopped green onion, and another sprinkle of chopped chervil. Grind a little pepper on top, and...

...serve with an appropriate beverage (hesaysBEERwhilemakingacoughingsound).

Bon appetit!!