I love the local farmer’s market. Love it. It’s a great place to see what’s in season, to meet local vendors, and to buy nougat (the nougat people, Kalley Kandy, do wedding favours!). Unfortunately, it’s also expensive (well, not the nougat. The nougat is very reasonable). Sometimes prohibitively so – I understand why a single bag of groceries can cost $40, but I can’t really justify it for myself. (Especially now that I’ve discovered that prices are better at farmer’s markets outside the city limits.)
Fortunately, I periodically have to go to the suburbs, where there’s a farm that’s open from May to November, and they label the local food and grow much of it themselves. And it’s cheap. Yesterday we got forty city-dollars’ worth of produce for $14. There were heads of field-fresh cauliflower for 29 cents. TWENTY-NINE CENTS. There is no beating this place. We got huge bunches of radishes for 33 cents apiece.
Cheap local produce is my number-one thrill. I need to get out more.
Anyway, in the spirit of the season and Meatless Monday and because I just love radishes, here’s a recipe for radish paneer. Paneer, if you’re not paneer-savvy, is a type of Indian cheese. It’s very, very good. You can make paneer at home if you can’t find it in stores. Bear with me on this one – it’s weird but fantastic. And no throwing out the greens!
- 1 lb. paneer
- 2 to 4 bunches radishes (1/2 lb. radish greens and 1 lb. radishes)
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 4 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 1 tsp. red chili flakes (or to taste)
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
Heat one tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Cut paneer into bite-size cubes, and fry it in the oil until each side is golden. Yup, I said it. Fry the cheese. You see how this recipe is already a winner?
Remove paneer to a plate. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, and heat. Cut radishes in half, then add to the pan, sautéeing over medium-high heat until fork-tender, about four minutes. Remove from pan, draining on paper towel. Wipe pan down before returning to medium-high heat with the remaining oil and the butter.
Add onion, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, garam masala, cumin, coriander, and salt to the pan, and saute until fragrant, two to three minutes.
Meanwhile, chop radish greens and scallions.
Add greens, scallions, and cilantro to the pan, and stir until wilted. Once wilted, add water and yogurt. Reduce heat to medium, and stew for ten minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
Before serving, return radishes and paneer to the pan to reheat, about one minute. Serve hot, over rice with a dollop of yogurt.