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Radish Salad
Radish Salad Photo courtesy of David Loftus

Judging by the title and edgy cover shot of April Bloomfield's new cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig, we expected pork-focused recipes to dominate the content. In truth, the British transplant and brilliant New York City chef packed far more than nose-to-tail-cooking advice inside her engaging read. Consider dishes like this simple radish salad, which highlights the chef's deep appreciation for vegetables and stresses the importance of adopting her hands-on cooking techniques. Using your hands--instead of flimsy salad tongs--to mix the ingredients is the key to creating a salad whose flavors come together in a truly cohesive and beautiful way.

Makes 4 side-dish servings
Start to Finish: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound radishes (about 25)--trimmed, cut into large bite-size pieces and chilled

1 small handful basil leaves (about 1 cup)

Maldon or other flaky sea salt

1 (2 1/2-ounce) piece Parmesan cheese, cut into slices, some thick and some thin

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste

2 small handfuls arugula (about 2 cups)

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine the radishes with the basil and 3 healthy pinches of salt. Using your hands, grab handfuls of the mixture and press the basil and salt against the radishes for about 30 seconds to release the basil's aromatic oils.

2. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix again with your hands until some of the cheese is creamy, some is in little chunks and some is still in larger dime-sized chunks.

3. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and toss well. Season with salt and additional lemon juice, if desired. Add the arugula and toss gently but thoroughly. Scatter the salad on a large plate or serving platter and serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • April Bloomfield has redefined the gastropub by serving bold, seasonal dishes at her restaurants, the Spotted Pig, the Breslin and the John Dory Oyster Bar. Find more thoughtful, nose-to-tail recipes in her new book.

  • Look beyond watery mainstream radishes for this dish and opt for varieties with a bit of heat like French breakfast, icicle, watermelon and Easter egg radishes. It’s nice to have the different sizes and colors in the salad, too.

  • When in season, radish sprouts make a spicy substitute for the arugula.

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