Watermelon Radish Avocado Toast

These beautiful toasts are the happiest little snow day treat. I don’t know what it is about the first big snow fall of the season, but now that we’ve got several inches on the ground in Southern Wisconsin I’m deeply attracted to vibrant, colorful foods. I was on a brown kick for much of November but now that there’s snow, I’m suddenly seeking out bright pops of color and digging into the back of my fridge for the watermelon radishes.

Watermelon radishes are one of those vegetables (much like my now beloved leeks and fennel) that I never had before starting a CSA farm. In fact, before I started CSA farming, I don’t think I every purchased a radish from the grocery store or knew how many beautiful radishes existed in the world. They just weren’t something on my radar or something in my diet (outside of that one tiny radish sliced onto my salads when I went out to eat).

Since we started CSA farming, radishes have become a pretty constant part of my life. In spring, there’s the petite round globes and stunning French Breakfast radishes that I nibble up in the fields, eat with butter, or add to every salad May through early July. In summer, our purple daikon radishes begin– beautiful and round, sweet and spicy. The perfect compliment to summer carrots whether pickled onto sandwiches with the first of the jalapenos or shaved onto summer salads. Then as fall arrives, we begin pulling watermelon radishes from the ground.

Though every radish has it’s own kind of seasonal joy and robust flavor it adds to the conversation, watermelon radishes have always felt simply magnificent to me. Not better than the other radishes necessarily– no no, I cannot compare my love for my vegetable children–but certainly more visually striking.

On the outside they don’t look that exciting. Their skin is a pale pink that fades to green near the leaves. But then you cut one open and it’s the most bright, vivid pink color you have ever seen. They don’t taste all that different than any of the other radishes I mentioned. They’re a bit milder and a bit sweeter, but there is something about their vibrancy that seems to change the way we approach using them in recipes. We can tolerate 2+ cups of radish in a recipe because we want that amount of color on our plates (especially in the winter).

Though I love watermelon radishes any time, I love storing them and using them throughout the colder months to add a little excitement and beauty to an otherwise bland plate. Now I wouldn’t call avocado toast bland, but I still adore topping my winter toasts with these beautiful radishes to remind myself of the bright, warm days I treasure in our fields.

I love this beautiful toast not just because it’s topped with one of my favorite late fall vegetables. I also love the spicy crunch that tops the radishes. It’s like my own little twist on an everything bagel seasoning (flaky sea salt, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, dried minced onion).

Topped with crunchy radishes and a pile of microgreens, this toast is packed full of flavors and textures– something else I really miss when the growing season ends. Interesting flavors and textures come so easily during the warmer months. They’re completely possible during the winter, but take a little bit more work for me when I can’t focus on all the variety coming out of our fields.

I hope you enjoy and it adds a little color to this beautiful snowy week.

Love,
Your Leek

WATERMELON RADISH AVOCADO TOAST

Makes 4 pieces of toasts
Serves 2 for breakfast or 4-6 as an appetizer
Takes 10 minutes

4 pieces sourdough bread
1 watermelon (or beauty heart) radish, scrubbed well
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 avocados
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onions
Microgreens, optional

  1. Toast sourdough bread.
  2. While the bread toasts, thinly slice your radish. It works best to use a mandolin and slice them 1/8-inch thick. Feel free to leave them whole or cut them into half moon or quarters.
  3. Once the toast is golden brown, spread a little butter on each slice. Top each piece of toast with half an avocado and gently mash with a fork. Add sliced radish (as much as you can conceivably fit).
  4. Combine sesame seeds, salt, red pepper flakes and minced onions in a small bowl. Sprinkle each toast with an even amount of the mixture. If using, top with microgreens. Serve warm.

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