It was a dreary day, typical of a Chicago spring, and I was looking for something to cook. I was tired of hearty soups, stews and pasta and was on the hunt for something light and bright. Something spring-like. Putzing around the internet for inspiration, going from one random link to another I came across something on the Eating Well website. Radish Soup. Was that a thing? The color caught my attention – a lovely shade of light pink. Curiosity piqued, I was about to find out if this was indeed a thing.
I’ve always loved radishes, particularly served the French way with good butter and crunchy salt alongside a cold, crisp glass of wine but a few months back, I became interested in what else you could do with them. The idea of cooking radishes was intriguing and I ended up creating a subcategory here called “Why Would You Do That?” in which I explored why someone would, say, cook a radish or a cucumber. Or turn celery into the centerpiece of a dish. My experiments were interesting and not complete failures though I must say, in all honesty that I haven’t made any of those dishes a second time. It was a more an opportunity to push my cooking skills and my expectations to see what I could come up with. Radish Soup is a curious one … it might fall right in the middle of this category or it might become a regular in the rotation. I had a bag of unused radishes so what the hell, let’s give this a go.
Essentially, this is a creamy potato soup cooked with thinly sliced radishes that once pureed, give the soup a most lovely shade of light pink. It’s quite pretty, dare I say a touch feminine, with its light blush hue and wouldn’t be out of place at a “ladies who lunch” type of event. With a little tangle of mathsticks and a bit of parsley for color, it is quite the beautiful, refined bowl of soup. If you’d like a more pronounced pink, use smaller radishes with more of the pink skin to surface area and I can only imagine the color you might get from the Easter Egg radishes about to hit the farmstands. My radishes were quite large so the color was very subtle.
But is it good? Well, that’s an interesting question. The flavor was relatively mild with just a hint of peppery kick from the radishes though it is a rather run of the mill potato soup. I tried it both hot and cold and slightly preferred the chilled version, much like a vichyssoise with a bit of spin and a prettier hue. I had expected more of a peppery kick from the radishes and while the flavor is there, it is very slight. I tend toward much bolder flavors but it you’re looking for something a little different for a pretty little luncheon, maybe this it is. For my tastes, it’s a little too delicate. I’ll stick with my bowls of pho and spicy noodle soups and if I want a potato soup, I’ll probably go with one that has bacon, onions and cheese instead.
STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: WIN SOME, LOSE SOME. This was an experiment more than anything else. While it was perfectly fine, it didn’t excite me much but I will say, again, it was the prettiest little bowl of soup. It seems very southern country club so if you’re looking for that kind of thing, well here you go. If I have a bumper crop of radishes this summer, I might come back to this one. Or I might just slather them all in butter and salt. We’ll have to wait and see.
other radish recipes: Radishes, Butter, Sea Salt, Radish Top Pesto with Sauteed Radishes, Radish Butter
Eight years ago: Brown Butter Banana Bread
Seven years ago: Peanut Butter Bars, Earth Day
Six years ago: Peterson Garden Project Round 2, Sticky Bun Bread
Five years ago: Pickled Ramps
Four years ago: Lemon Loaf Cake
Three years ago: Guinness Crème Anglaise
Two years ago: Flourless Chocolate Cookies
Last year: Raspberry Speculoos Frangipane Tart
CREAMY RADISH SOUP – adapted from this recipe
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ¾ cups thinly sliced radishes
½ cup chopped red onion
1 medium Yukon Gold potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1” cubes
2 ½ cups low-fat milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ cup radishes sliced into matchsticks
¼ cup low-fat sour cream
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh radish greens or parsley
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add 1¾ cups radishes and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are beginning to brown and the radishes are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add potato, milk, salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes more.
- Working in batches, puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)
- Slice the remaining ¼ cup radishes into matchsticks.
- Serve each portion of soup topped with 1 Tablespoon sour cream, some radish matchsticks and a sprinkling of radish greens (or parsley).
- Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.