If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, grab your shopping bag and head over to the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Arizona and Third. You’ll be feeling better after walking just a few yards, smelling the dill and onions, seeing the happy shoppers, feeling the ocean breeze and sampling the produce. (Of course, this cure for the blues only works on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but there are other markets in town or nearby that will have a similar effect if you’re feeling down on other days of the week.)
Even if you’re feeling just fine, you’ll feel even better when you go. There are surprises at every stand and you’ll leave with healthy and super tasty food. A few weeks ago I noticed the watermelon radishes at Weiser Family Farms. I’d been going there for fingerling potatoes and Cavaillon-style melons and cauliflower for years but I’d never seen these:
They don’t look like much, do they? One of the guys sliced one open for me and my jaw dropped.
I had a taste–they’re like mild radishes, super crunchy and just a little spicy. I tried what they call a honeydew radish, too. Beautiful green interior, less showy but just as beautiful. I couldn’t resist. I bought a ton. I figured I’d make something for the dinner we were having a couple of days later. Here’s what I came up with:
Using a mandoline, I sliced up the radishes. I coated butter lettuce with a simple lemon vinaigrette, placed some of the colorful slices on each side, added a bit of smoked salmon, a dollop of creme fraîche and some chives. It turned out to be a showy starter for an otherwise homey meal (roast chicken and cauliflower gratin followed). Our friends were so intrigued by the radishes that I sent some of the extras home with them as party favors!
The farmer tells me that they will only have them for another month, so hurry! I’m going to buy some seeds from Burbee and plant them. I hope they pop up as quickly as ordinary radishes do!