If the weather doesn’t seem to make up its mind, the crisp, just-plucked radishes showing up at the local markets and farmers’ stands tell us that spring is indeed here. Their alluring crispness makes a wonderful offering for an aperitif or with a sprinkling of salt and a dab of sweet butter as a light appetizer.  The unblemished tender leaves can be saved and served as a peppery delectable soup that is invigorating and hearty enough for a cool spring day.

If you plan to make the soup, the radishes should come from a farmer’s market. The greens should be bright and sprightly, and not showing any sign of fatigue. Those that have been kept under the supermarkets’ “reviving” sprinklers are loaded with water and often look kind of funky by the time you get home, and they should be discarded.

A garnish of thinly sliced radishes adds a nice crunch and looks pretty against the intense green background.  I also like to serve this soup with toasted slices of baguette, smeared with a thin layer fresh goat cheese and top with the radish slices.

Creamy Radish Greens Soup

Serves 4

  • One large bunch of radishes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large potato
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the greens from the radishes and wash carefully. Dry and chop coarsely.  Peel and quarter the potato.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the radish greens and a good pinch of salt, and toss until wilted. Add the potato and chicken broth. Season with salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Puree the soup with a hand held mixer or in a food processor, or blender. Return to the pan. Swirl in the crème fraîche or heavy cream, and stir over medium heat until hot. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve.