One of my favourite parts of June is the return of the local farmers market.
Compared to the bigger markets like the St Lawrence or the Brickworks, the little market at Withrow Park with its dozen stands may not look like much, but I think it’s perfect. It’s got everything I need… fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, bread, and pastries, all locally grown and produced.
This year’s cool rainy spring meant that pickings were pretty slim at the inaugural market last weekend, but I still managed to snag myself a crusty sourdough baguette and bunch of fat crunchy radishes.
Rounded out with a handful of chives from the garden and a block of creamy butter, I had exactly what I needed to make myself a platter of radish toast, the most quintessential of almost-summertime snacks, and a perfect way to celebrate the market’s return.
This classic French recipe is so incredibly easy to make – slices of fresh baguette topped with a generous slathering of chive butter, a layer of thinly sliced radishes, and a sprinkling of crunchy salt.
All that matters is that you must make sure that each of those elements is the absolute best you can possibly get. The radishes must be large and plump and crunchy. The baguette must be crusty on the outside and delicately airy on the inside. The chives should be fresh and very finely chopped. The salt should be flaky and crunchy.
And, most important of all, the butter must be creamy and rich and utterly exceptional.
That’s why I insist on making my radish toasts with Stirling Creamery butter, because it’s the best dang butter you can get without hopping the next plane to France… and best of all, it’s made right here in Ontario, using fresh local cream without any additives or preservatives.
I often use Stirling’s unsalted butter for baking, but when it comes to radish toast, it’s all about their whey butter. This artisanal butter is made from whey cream that’s created during the production of fine cheeses, which gives it a rich, creamy and intensely buttery flavour. It’s exactly what you want to temper the sharp crunch of the radishes.
It won’t be long before last week’s radishes, garlic scapes and green onions give way to sweet peas and early strawberries, so I strongly suggest hustling over to your local market to stock up while the getting is good. (And trust me, it’s gooooooood.)
Meet the Nordi-cows Contest:
Before we get to the recipe, I want to let you know about a new contest that Gay Lea is running this month to celebrate the launch of new Nordica Plain Smooth Cream Cheese!
They’ve created a fun interactive game where you choose your favourite Nordi-cow, and milk it for a chance to win great prizes. Click on over to Gay Lea’s Facebook page to get more details on this week’s prize, or click the graphic below to enter the contest.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Gay Lea, and received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. As always, all opinions on this blog are my own.
- ¼ cup Stirling Creamery whey butter, softened
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives (plus more for garnish)
- 1 sourdough baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 6-8 large radishes, very thinly sliced
- Coarse flaked salt for sprinkling (like fleur de sel or maldon sea salt)
- In a small bowl, stir together the butter and chives until well combined. (You can use the butter right away if you're pressed for time, but it'll be even better if you cover and chill for at least an hour to let the flavours blend.)
- To make the toasts, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of chive butter. Top with radish slices, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and more chives. Serve immediately, preferably with a chilled glass of rose or white wine.