with radishes, brioche & fresh peas
Recipe by Mark Bitterman
Originally published in
Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing, and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks
Some people like it old school. If you made it past the word sloughed in this recipe title, you are one of them. The exquisite rural French snack of radishes and salted butter usually calls for unsalted butter topped with a pinch of excellent sea salt such as fleur de sel. But spread across the cool face of a salt block, soft butter gets just a lick of salt, and the radishes resting on the salt block pick up a bit of salt all for themselves. Combined, the flavor is a new classic.
Chill the salt block in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Preheat the oven on low heat.
Meanwhile, bring 4 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the peas and boil until bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain the peas and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside. Trim the radishes of their greens and spindly roots; cut into thin slices. Set aside.
Remove the block from the freezer. Put the butter on the salt block and, using a stiff rubber or wooden spatula, smash the butter across the face of the salt block, smearing it into an even layer that almost covers the surface. Immediately scrape it into a mound in one corner of the block. Using the flat side of the spatula, mold the butter into a pyramid or a miniature Taj Mahal. Alternately, scrape up the salt with a teaspoon to make shavings of crested butter.
Fan rows of radish slices radiating out from the butter monument across the salt block. Perch the peas between the radish slices. Warm the brioche lightly in the oven.
Smear torn pieces of warm brioche into the freshly salted butter, add a pea or three, and roof it with a few radish shingles. Cleave it between your teeth for bright bursts of springtime.