Sesame Ginger Chicken with Roasted Radishes on Radish Greens

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Excerpts from my column in the Register Star and Daily Mail:
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I love a good spicy raw radish, but I only think of them as just nice crunchy additions to my salad. Turns out, I had a very myopic view of radishes. Not only are there endless salad variations for the brightly colored globes, but you can also cook them. To be frank, cooking a radish never crossed my mind. I just didn’t think it was done. Thank goodness for the Internet to broaden my culinary horizons.

Radishes are a member of the cruciferous family, which includes health-star siblings like cabbage, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Radishes are a good source of vitamin C, they are high in antioxidants, high in dietary fiber, and low in calories. Radish greens pack even more vitamin C than the globes. Radishes are purported to be beneficial for respiratory problems, digestive disorders, asthma, bronchitis and liver and gallbladder troubles. All of that in a pretty pink little package.

Our radishes are still growing. I have pulled a few very tasty gumball-sized ones. The radishes at the farmer’s market give ours something to which to aspire. They are beautiful indeed. So I grabbed several bunches and decided to experiment.

Sesame Ginger Chicken with Roasted Radishes on Radish Greens
I like this recipe because it satisfies my frugal nature by using all the parts of the radish. In fact, the radish greens in this dish are my favorite part.

Ingredients
4-6 pieces of chicken, skin on (plan on 3 ounces per person)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sake (optional)
1/4 sesame seeds
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 bunches of radishes (with greens)
Dash of Cayenne pepper

(Serves 2-4)

Method
-Rinse chicken pieces in water and pat dry.
-Mix soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, honey, ginger, garlic, sake, lime, rice vinegar and water. Set aside 1/4 cup and pour the rest over the chicken. Let marinate for 20 minutes (or longer if you have the time).
-Preheat oven to 400°F.
-Wash radishes and radish greens well. Remove greens and set aside.
-Cut radish globes into fourths and toss in the reserved 1/4 cup of marinade until coated.
-Brush the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil.
– Arrange chicken pieces skin-side up in roasting pan. Pour marinade over chicken.
– Add radishes around the chicken.
-Cook for 30 minutes at 400°F. Then lower the heat to 350°F and cook for 15-20 minutes more until juices run clear or until the internal temperature reads 170° F.
-Remove and chicken and radishes from the roasting pan and set aside leaving the liquid in the pan.
-Toss the washed radish greens in the pan.
-Return pan to oven for 3-4 more minutes or until the greens are wilted.

To serve, place the greens on a plate, top with the chicken and radishes. Drizzle the pan drippings over everything. Coconut rice from last week’s column will go nicely with this dish.

Obamatini

I don’t know about you, but I plan to celebrate a little this Tuesday. I have seen other recipes for Obamatinis. A popular one calls for blueberries. Blueberries? I guess that’s for the blue states. I think my husband’s and my creation is a bit more à propos or at least bipartisan.

2 oz vodka
1 oz pineapple juice
A splash or two of fresh ginger syrup (more if you want a sweeter drink)
Garnish with a crystallized ginger slice.

Place in shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain and serve in chilled glasses.

Cheers!

Crystallized Ginger & Syrup

Here’s another idea for a homemade gift. You can knock out two gifts with one recipe—crystallized ginger and ginger syrup.

Peel one to two medium sized fresh ginger roots.

Slice into pieces about 1/8 inch thick. You should have about a cup of ginger.

Bring three cups of water and two cups of sugar to boil. Stir until sugar has dissolved.

Add the ginger and turn the heat down. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, until the ginger is tender and translucent. Be sure to watch it. If the heat is too high, the syrup can burn quickly.

Drain all but about a tablespoon of the syrup (be sure to keep the syrup!). Return ginger to pan and heat while constantly stirring until all the water evaporates.

Remove from heat and toss with a cup of sugar.

Place ginger on wax paper and let cool. Be sure to separate the pieces or you’ll have a giant ginger blob.

Store in an airtight container and keep at room temperature.

Crystallized ginger is tasty in most baked goods. Epicurious has a slew of recipes.

Keep the syrup refrigerated. Add a splash of it to tea or any beverage you want to spice up.

Ginger martinis anyone?