It feels like I just got back from Barcelona even though it has been over two weeks. I can't shake off the smell of the plancha, the sound of the bustling markets, or the taste of the most decadent cherries. I close my eyes and l feel the chatter of a hundred people peering over a crowded bar, sipping vermouth and snacking on bravas - sweet, buttery, crispy, hot.
The food in Spain is simple and straightforward. Each dish is a million years old and still standing the test of time. The food means something to the people of Barcelona; it has history. Their way of cooking relies on using the very best ingredients and transform them into addictive dishes that require very simple cooking techniques.
Pan con tomate - the most ubiquitous, and humblest of them all, is deceivingly specific. Every ingredient has a purpose, as if designed to end up in this world only to be used this way. The bread is thin and airy, made of nooks and crannies for holding pools of olive oil and the tomato's flesh, firm enough to hold itself together as it gets pressed against perfectly crisp bread, yet plump and juicy.
This way of cooking is confident and brave. Without being too self-aware, these dishes became Spain's identity, they built a culture and a country. What is cava without a olives, or vermouth without boquerones?
I love it. I just wish they cooked with more vegetables.
So I made these Crispy Sumac Radishes. Simple, beautiful, effortless, and oh-so confident. Sumac is tart, brightening up the radish’s mild flavor. The tahini, an addiction I can’t shake off, add fat and nutty undertones to balance the dish.
Share it with friends over a glass of something refreshing.
Crispy Sumac Radishes
Preheat oven to 450
1 large baking sheet
parchment paper (optional)
- 1 large black radish
- 1 tsp. sumac
- drizzle olive oil
- pinch of kosher or sea salt
- tahini to taste
- Handful of sunflower sprouts, alternatively use micro greens
- As your oven heats up (you could also do this over a grill if you wanted to), let's prep the radish. First, wash and dry the radish. Then, using a sharp knife, peel off the skin, then cut into thin (about 1/8” thick) slices.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the cut radishes on the baking sheet. Dust with sumac and salt, then coat with olive oil. With clean hands, toss the radishes around until evenly coated, then roast for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and crisp around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and transfer onto a plate. Drizzle tahini, a dash of sea salt, and a handful of sprouts.
- Serve immediately.
Cook time: 30 minutes