Radish Three Ways with Nutty Brown Butter Couscous

By Charleen - May 05, 2023

A fantastic spring dish featuring those colorful bunches of red and white radishes with vibrant greens on top! An easy, quick and satisfying vegetarian meal with bright flavors and colors. The crisp zestiness of raw radish and sumac contrast beautifully with the soft, buttery notes of browned radish and silky greens. A few crunchy almonds and sweet bits of raisin add to the culinary bliss.  

Radish 3-ways with hazelnut brown butter couscous

Back in the heart of the pandemic, I had some extra time to try new recipes and fell in love with the Brown Butter Couscous with Spring Vegetables on the Food52 site, by Emily C.  It was a brightly colored, extremely flavorful and easily customized dish that I found myself wanting to make every time I saw a beautiful bunch of radish greens. 

Brown Butter Couscous with Spring Vegetables

Because it was the greens that really caught my eye, telling me the radish roots were fresh, I was loathe to throw them away. Having learned how delicious beet greens can be, I added chopped radish greens to the spinach.  

With time, I started to skip the other spring vegetables, and once I tried using za'atar instead of just plain sumac. Za'atar is fantastic sprinkled on all sorts of things, from toasted pita to roasted cauliflower to marinated chicken kababs. Of course, the first time I tried that, the thyme in the za'atar burned, so I had to modify the recipe further. 

This dish has bright bold flavors and colors, with acid from the lovely red sumac and lemon juice and sharp, crisp bites of raw radish contrasting beautifully with the soft rich, burnished melt-in-your-mouth wedges of radish wedges browned in butter. A few crunchy almonds, sweet bits of raisin, and optional bursts of feta cheese add to the culinary bliss.  

how to cook...

The recipe consists of a few main steps: 
1) prepping the vegetables and measuring the spices, 

2) making the brown butter couscous, 

3) browning the radish wedges in butter in a wok or large frying pan,

4) adding the raisins and nuts

5) wilting the greens,

5) and tossing it all together.
Radish 3-ways with Almond Golden Raisin Brown Butter Couscous

Love2Chow Radish Three Ways with Nutty Brown Butter Couscous 

1 bunch radishes with fresh green leaves
Optional: Handfuls of baby spinach or arugula
5 Tbs butter, divided into 3 and 2 Tbs portions
1 cup instant couscous (I like Bob's Red Mill Golden Couscous)
Optional: 1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tsp sumac or za'atar, divided into 1 tsp portions
1/2 tsp salt plus a pinch or two
1/3 cup roasted almonds (or hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts)
2 Tbs golden or regular raisins or chopped dates
freshly ground pepper
lemon juice (or vinegar)
Optional: 2 oz crumbled feta or chevre

1. Wash radishes in a large bowl of water, letting the dirt settle to the bottom. Carefully lift out each bunch without stirring up the sediment. Separate the greens from the radish root and coarsely chop.  Wash optional spinach or arugula in the same manner.

Take the two largest radishes and slice thinly. Set aside to be added raw at the end. Cut the rest of the radishes into 4-6 wedges depending on size. Small ones may be halved. 

2. In a saucepan with a lid, melt 3 Tbs of butter and cook over medium heat until many brown flecks appear, the butter turns amber and it smells nutty, 4-8 min. Add instant couscous, 1 tsp sumac, 1/2 tsp salt, and stir to coat in butter.  Add 1 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil.  Add peas if using. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 min.

3. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 Tbs of butter in a 14-in wok or a 12-in skillet. Add the radish wedges, placing a cut white surface downwards and cook without moving them for 3-4 min. Flip and continue cooking for another 2-3 min until tender and browned. 

Add the almonds and raisins to toast in the butter for a few minutes. Then add sumac, salt and pepper, followed by all of the greens being used. 

4. When greens are wilted, remove from heat.  Fluff couscous with a fork and stir into the radish mixture.  Add lemon juice and adjust salt, pepper to taste. Let cool for a few minutes.  Add sliced raw radishes and serve warm or at room temperature.


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