Sherry's Radish Tops Pesto Recipe


"Can you guess what's in there?" Sherry asks me as I bite into the pesto crostini."
"Um. Sun dried tomatoes, almonds, garlic ... I don't know, but it's really good!" I replied between bites.
Each time I visit my friends Bob and Sherry in California it feels like opening up an unexpected gift as they graciously offer a lavish spread of appetizers accompanied by excellent wines from their extensive collection, and always with good company. This time, in addition to several small dishes, Sherry had whipped up a bowl of pesto composed of radish tops, a novel appetizer replete with exciting pesto flavors with a unique kick from the spicy radish tops.



Radish blossoms from Marin Root Farms at the San Francisco Ferry Building 

On my recent visit I sat in Sherry's kitchen quietly looking out onto the terrace garden, admiring the way the herbs were gently dancing with the soft breeze sloping down the hills.  The view of the idyllic garden was contrasted by the energy in the kitchen as Sherry whizzed through plating Meyer lemon short bread, which she baked from her prolific lemon trees. Next Sherry scooped bowls of a deep crimson sorbet, insisting that I must not leave without trying her lemon verbena strawberry sorbet made from the fresh herbs in her garden. It was an ethereal integration of ripe summer berries and exotic sweet citrus infused mint. I'm not sure if I can even begin to describe it other than to say that it was magnifique!


Matt's wild cherry tomatoes ($5/pt) from Windfall Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket. These ripe tiny clusters of sweet full flavored tomatoes are indigenous to Mexico and delicious.

Sherry is in constant motion, taking on many food projects such as Napa Radio, A Million Cooks, and let's not forget creating recipes in her test kitchen, where she experiments with the interesting flavors, ideas, and techniques amassed on her travels across the globe.  If you're not already familiar, Sherry leads Culinary Getaways, which brings people to destinations for extravagant food-focused experiences to taste the authentic flavors of regional cuisines. Earlier this year, I was one of the lucky ones to snag a seat on Sherry's truffle trip in Provence, where we went on a truffle hunting adventure, met with local producers of olive oil, wines and cheeses, among other amazing experiences. You may read about some of the experiences in the posts linked below.

Strawberries from Dirty Girl Organic Farms at the San Francisco Ferry Building

The recipes that Sherry posts on her blog allow me to reconnect with many of my experiences traveling through Europe, and living in California.  The radish top pesto is emblematic of Sherry's style of cooking using simple, high quality fresh ingredients to produce pure memorable flavors. The radish pesto is a great combination of hot spice from the radish tops and garlic, toasted nuttiness from the almonds, tart ripe nuances from the sun-dried tomatoes all rounded out by the parmigiano reggiano. When you have an opportunity please stop by Sherry's blog and say hi.

Matured garlic scapes from Keith's Organic Farm Stand at the Union Square Greenmarket

Sherry's Radish Tops Pesto Recipe
(from Sherry Page's Food Blog What's Fresh)
This recipe is a wonderful variation of the traditional basil pesto. Although the sun-dried tomatoes are listed as optional, I think they add a pleasant tart ripe nuance that complement the parmigiano regianno cheese nicely. If you don't have sun dried tomatoes, you can simply take a pint of cherry tomatoes, halve each, toss lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven at 170 F for 3 hours to dehydrate. They're well worth the effort.
Ingredients
  • 2 handfuls of radish greens, washed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup radish flowers (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup freshly-grated parmigiano regianno cheese
  • 1/4 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, diced (optional)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly-cracked black pepper
Method
  1. Drop the radish leaves and flowers into the food processor and process for a few seconds until finely chopped.
  2. Add the minced garlic, the almonds, the cheese and the diced sundried tomatoes, if using them. Process for a few seconds until everything is well-combined. Drizzle in enough olive oil to make a nice paste. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. 
Serve as an appetizer with sliced bread or with pasta. Sherry likes to serve the baby radishes themselves with a dish of fleur-de-sel (sea salt) for dipping.






Truffle Risotto and Scallops at Bistrot Découverte in Saint Remy

Joël Durand Chocolatier in Saint Remy

Mas de Barres Olive Mill in Vallée des Baux of Provence

L'Isle Sur la Sorgue

An Amazing Farm House in Provence

63 comments:

TKW said...

Wow! I didn't know that you could eat the tops of radishes. Who knew? I'm jealous of your visits with Sherry--sounds like a wonderful time.

bellini valli said...

I agree with TKW, who knew you could use the radish tops. I have only recently been enamored by radishes having avoided them for years and now they are a secret ingredient in my next pesto adventure.

Pam said...

It's all so scrumptious looking and what a lovely lady! Enjoy!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

This looks fantastic! I recently made a beet green hummus and nobody could guess what was in it!

Stella said...

Ooh, I'm sending this to my Mom right now. She has a bunch of radishes growing that are super delicious by the way (smile), but she doesn't know what to do with the greens. Now she will...
Thanks Christine!

Emily said...

I don't prefer radishes, but radish greens I could probably handle. This sounds like an amazingly creative and delish recipe. :-)

alison said...

a very creativ pesto,totally new for me!

Cathy said...

Your radish greens pesto has me so intrigued that I have to try it.
Lovely post and wonderful photos. Thanks.

Asha @ FSK said...

Awesome post! Christine, you always make me want to move West!!! :)) Lemon trees in the garden... sighhhhhhh...

Love the idea of radish leaf pesto. they must add a nice acerbity to the pesto..

kat said...

What a great use of something that would normally just get thrown away

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I can see radish tops must add a nice bite to this pesto - as always, your pictures are stunning!

Vicky @ eat live spin said...

I am actually heading to the Union Sq. Farmer's Market now! I have never gotten Matt's cherry tomatoes... but I have been happy that heirloom's are finally back!

lostpastremembered said...

Who knew you could eat them... it never occurred to me that you could! I do so hate wasting tops of things... now it looks like I won't have to!

Pam said...

This is a new one, didn't know they were edible. Very interesting post!

MaryMoh said...

Wow...you are sure so lucky to taste that pesto. Looks so healthy and delicious! Love all the pictures. Thanks very much for sharing.

The Diva on a Diet said...

I'm completely smitten with the idea of radish-top pesto. It looks and sounds magnificent! Such an unusual and elegant appetizer. Must try this soon!

Also, can we come with you on your next visit to Sherry? ;) LOL

Juliana said...

Wow, how interesting, radish green, never had it...the pesto sure sounds delicious :-)

Claudia said...

Does Sherry take in boarders? I'll pack my bags. On my "must do in the next hour" list which grows as I read your blog. Now off to Sherry's blog!

Mari said...

Very unique pesto, looks delicious. I wouldn't mind making it at home.

Have a great Monday!

Kim said...

Sounds like a wonderful new approach to pesto. I love the peppery heat of a radish and have to assume that the peppery taste comes through in this pesto. Sounds terrific!

krissy @ thefoodaddicts.com said...

this blog post is really 'fresh, local, and best' isnt it? love to see when ingredients in the garden are used! this looks like an awesome spread... and a great crowd pleaser!

Katy ~ said...

I eat radishes by the bunches, never knew you could eat the tops. This sounds delicious!

Velva said...

I am in total awe of the radish top pesto. What a very cool idea! My freezer is full of traditional basil pesto, and I did manage a little creativity with a mint pesto but, Sherry's is awesome.

This post is a gentle reminder of simple is still best.

El said...

I think I need to eat at your friend Sherry's house. Her food looks sensational. I too love Matt's Wild tomatoes but did not know they were from Mexico. Such a delicious post!

Joanne said...

The radish tops must have given that pesto such a nice bite! So sweet of you to give your friend a shout-out :P

Apples and Butter said...

I love this! I make a pea shoot pesto, but have never thought to throw radish tops in a batch of pesto. I hate letting things go to waste and a girl can only eat so many sauteed radish greens...perfect solution!

Sherry said...

Christine, I just saw this! I'm blown away - thank you so very much. I love when you visit and I am so happy that you liked the radish leaf pesto. I truly appreciate all of the kind comments from your guests. I hope they will all contact me if they are heading out this way. I would love to meet them!

bunkycooks said...

Sherry is certainly a great friend to have! :) Your photos are beautiful in this post.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments! I am very lucky to have such dear friends.

lisaiscooking said...

I love it when good uses are found for greens that usually get neglected! Sounds fantastic with the sun-dried tomatoes.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Using radish tops would never have occurred to me! I'm hoping I can find some lovely, fresh tops at the farmers market. I'd love to try this unique recipe myself!

Thanks for the link to Sherry's blog.

Mimi said...

This radish pesto would be a good reason to grow radishes.
Mimi

Foodessa said...

Christine...that garlic scapes photo is over the top...I'd love to frame it...so capturing!

Now, truthfully...I've always avoided radishes...never took to them. However, I am willing to give their green leaves a chance ;o) That recipe sounds wonderful.

Thanks for all your beautiful photos...they really speak volumes.

Ciao for now and have a fabulous week ahead,
Claudia

Megan said...

I don't think I've ever even seen a radish top, but I may need to seek them out now because that pesto just looks so tasty. Sounds like you had a wonderful visit.

Chow and Chatter said...

awesome pesto and this lady seems so cool, what a lovely foodie friend you have there, hope your well maybe coming to NYC in the fall !

marla@familyfreshcooking.com said...

Sounds like you and your friend Sherry have some great times together. This pesto is so unique & sounds delicious. Her culinary getaway trips sound amazing! I hope I could go on them some day!

Debinhawaii said...

She sounds like a great friend to have. ;-) I love the idea of radish top pesto--i have stir fried the tops but would never have thought to do a pesto out of them. Such a great idea!

~Dana said...

I've been looking for a good Pesto recipe! This looks AMAZING!

Trix said...

That radish top recipe sounds amazing - what a smart thing. I think I'd like to borrow your friend Sherry for a few days!

Angie's Recipes said...

I always get my pesto from the stores...maybe it's time for me to start the homemade!

OysterCulture said...

Wow, Sherry sounds amazing and I love the creative use of radish tops for this recipe. What a brilliant idea. Homemade pesto is one of my favorite go to recipes and this novel ingredient just sounds awesome.

tasteofbeirut said...

I first found out about these radish tops in a french site, c'est moi qui l'ai fait; I tried it and loved it and posted about it. Never saw the flower before though! Looks beautiful, love all the shots!

Heavenly Housewife said...

What a beautiful looking pesto. I really need to start making my own. I can be so lazy.
I love that picture you took of the garlic scapes.
*kisses* HH

My Carolina Kitchen said...

This sounds great and I definitely wouldn't leave the sun dried tomatoes out. They are one of my favorites and add so much.
Sam

nancy at good food matters said...

I am so glad that you posted about this---I had come across a similar recipe for the radish tops earlier this year---and forgot about it! It's a marvelous idea.

Sherry is amazing. I will be happy to visit her blog!
I'm trying to imagine the lemon verbena strawberry sorbet.....

debi (Table Talk) said...

Love the idea of radish flowers in the pesto. Now to find them here at our farmers markets...that will be a challenge.
Looking forward to visiting Sherry's blog.

baking.serendipity said...

This looks delicious! I never would have thought to add the radish to the pesto. I love visiting friends who have food out like Sherry :)

Cristina said...

A very enjoyable post...I like your writing style and the photography is beautiful. Thanks for sharing about Sherry's blog and this beautiful Pesto recipe.

the clark clan said...

Hi Christine and Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! I adore radish greens and am lucky my regional grocer sells the radishes with love fresh green tops that I usually wilt! But I will be trying this recipe! As for the green market! Used to go there at lunch from work years ago. It has so expanded and morphed into a wonderful place. Thanks for the lovely pictures to bring back memories of happy fridays! Am following your blog! :) Alex@amoderatelife

Lori said...

What a wonderful friend to have! She certainly has my dream job as well. :)

I don't think I have ever seen a radish blossom. This pesto sounds wonderful. I'm a huge pesto fan and always looking for different ways to make it.

girlichef said...

Wow, this sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing it with Two for Tuesdays.

Cinnamon Girl said...

I didn't know radish tops were edible...but I love the sound of it in a pesto! I'm always looking for different ways to make one of my favorite sauces.

Christy said...

What an interesting and unique pesto - your friend is amazing! Thanks for linking to Two for Tuesdays.

Unplanned Cooking said...

I am constantly amazed by what you can make pesto out of - and that it still tastes great! It has become my default for my CSA box :).

otehlia cassidy said...

I love all the things you can make pesto with, but I never thought of radish tops. It is so versatile and delicious. Beautiful blog!

Butterpoweredbike said...

I just started cooking with radish tops this past spring. It was only because I didn't want to see them go to waste. But it turns out that they taste great, and I especially love the texture of the stalks. Thanks for linking up with Two for Tuesday this week.

Sook said...

What a unique and wonderful pesto dish! I love pesto and this sounds like something that I'd definitely fall in love with! Yum!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Beautiful photos. I love ideas like this for how to use parts of produce you wouldn't normally think of using. And, this recipe sounds delicious. It is also clearly nutritious. Great pic of your gal friend... and I am sure she is one of those you wrote about in your recent post about appreciating the special friendships you have.
:)
Valerie

Magic of Spice said...

What a lovely pest, and such a great friend to visit:)

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

This looks amazing!! Thank you for sharing your visit and the awesome photos!! Thanks for the recipe too, I so want to try it!

Samantha @ The Savvy Soybean said...

Ooh I bet I can get some radishes at the UWS farmers market. The color of that pesto looks amazing!! Gotta keep this recipe =)

Kitchen Bee said...

Yummy, don't radish leaves make a delicious pesto? All the photos of FRESH produce look gorgeous. Thanks for sharing Sherry with us.

Anonymous said...

I very much appreciate what you're creating here!