June 19, 2014 at 1:00 am

Simply the Best

Roasted radish flavorful with lemon, ginger

Roasted radish salad has surprising flavor. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)

Of all the vegetables at the farmers markets, it seems that radishes are the most under-appreciated. Smaller in stature than the other vegetables, the radish goes after our attention by being a lovely rosy red with a flavor bite that awakens the senses. I eat radishes all year round, dipped in salt, sliced on a salad or used to top a slice of bread slathered with some fresh, creamy butter. I have even sauteed radishes to serve as a side.

This recipe, which I came upon while flipping through one of my favorite magazines, Vegetarian Times, stood out because of its beautiful presentation, as well as its unique execution: roasting radishes to bring out even more of their flavor. The recipe calls for using all radish greens, but the ones I had looked a little shabby, so I substituted an herb salad mix for the greens. You roast half the radishes and serve the remainder uncooked to provide a crunchy complement. The lemon-ginger dressing goes deliciously with the seared salmon fillet I served alongside.

Roasted Radish Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing

If youve never tried roasted radishes or radish greens heres your chance. Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times

2 bunches radishes with greens (1 pound) or substitute herb salad or arugula
1 large lemon
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
Kosher salt, for sprinkling, optional
2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted almonds
2 tablespoons torn or snipped mint, parsley or chive leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line small baking sheet with parchment paper.

Separate greens from radish roots. Quarter radishes and divide into two equal portions. Wash and trim 4 cups radish leaves. Cover leaves with damp towel, and chill until ready to use.

Remove 1 teaspoon zest from lemon and set aside. Cut lemon in half lengthwise. Cut first lemon half across into 8 slices. Squeeze juice from remaining lemon half.

Toss 8 lemon slices with half of radish wedges, 1 tablespoon oil and agave nectar; season with salt, if desired. Spread on prepared baking sheet and roast 20 to 25 minutes, or until radishes are shriveled and lemon slices are darkened. (Discard any burned lemon slices.)

Whisk together remaining two tablespoons oil, crystallized ginger, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and reserved lemon zest in small bowl; sprinkle with kosher salt, if using. Pour 2 tablespoons dressing over remaining raw radish wedges, and let stand 15 to 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Toss the roasted radishes and lemon slices with raw radishes. Toss greens with remaining dressing. Arrange the radishes and lemon slices over the bed of greens, and drizzle remaining dressing over top. Garnish with almonds and herbs.

Per serving (per 1 cup): 152 calories; 12 g fat (less than 1 g saturated fat; 71 percent calories from fat); 11 g carbohydrates; 4 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 9 mg sodium; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber.

KLawson@detroitnews.com