Friday, May 23, 2008

Fresh Radish Sandwiches with Sunflower Sprouts and Goat Cheese

Early summer radishes are just now starting to make their appearance in our St. Louis farmers' markets. I was never a fan of radishes growing up, but as my palette has matured I've discovered that I really, really like the peppery little guys.

Radishes have a lot to offer - they're visually striking (especially when you mix and match colors), they have a unique flavor, and they add a pleasing crunch to every dish they're in. Roasted radishes are also amazing, but I'll leave that for another post.

My grandfather, a farmer, had fresh radish sandwiches with butter whenever they were in season. Big, hearty, crunchy sandwiches - a far distant relative to those fussy little radish sandwiches served at teas.

I thought of making this sandwich because 1) the radishes looked lovely at Soulard this morning, and 2) Veronica Baetje of Baetje Farms introduced me to her latest goat's cheese offering. The "Sainte Genevieve" is, from the label, a:

"...delicate round of cheese [that] was inspired by the French cheese 'Chaource". Chaource has been made in France since the 14th century and is traditionally made with cow's milk. We have given this old cheese a new twist making it with our own Saanen Goat milk. "

When I sampled it, I immediately thought "Butter, but better." The cheese is creamy like softened butter, but has a nice tangy flavor you'd expect from a goat's milk cheese. It's very mild, and would work well paired with fruit.

But since I had radishes on the brain, and a new buttery, tangy cheese to sample, I put them together with Black Bear Bakery's Pumpernickel bread and Claverach's Sunflower Shoots - sunflower sprouts are another new revelation - both of which I purchased at Local Harvest.

The last instruction on the label said to "Enjoy!" And I did! And so should you! This cheese was just introduced to the market today, and it's a real treat to be able to use it in a recipe that's so seasonal and fresh. If you're a fan of goat cheese, rush down to the Baetje Farms stall at Soulard Market and pick up the Sainte Genevieve, or another of their delicious varieties. You'll love them!

Fresh pumpernickel bread, lightly toasted
Baetje Farms' "Sainte Genevieve" cheese, softened to room temperature
-substitute with a mix of 4 parts chevre to 1 part butter
Red Radishes
White Radishes
Sunflower sprouts
Salt and pepper

Slice the radishes very thinly with a mandoline or slicer. Lightly toast the bread and spread liberally with the cheese. Place the radish slices in a single, overlapping layer on the bread, alternating colors. Top with sunflower sprouts, and a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Be sure to wipe the summer off your chin.

Chris Freeland
cfreeland27 (at)

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