An absolute bizarre combination when you first consider it, radish and butter are actually a classic pair for a tartine in France. Traditionally, this tartine is called “Tartine Radis-Beurre”. The key to making a great Tartine Radis-Beurre is choosing the absolute highest quality ingredients. I’m talking the realest of the real butter you can find (grass-fed, minimal processing, lots of flavor) and fresh from the garden radishes and a baguette from a local artisan bakery. Of course, it is a privilege to have access to such good quality food, so it’s all about what you have available to you. A French Rosé is the obvious pair here – for both flavor and the pink skins of the radishes!
Radishes and Butter are a Classic French Duo
You may not see radishes served with butter and salt on most American restaurant menus, but in France? A classic bistro appetizer is simply whole radishes with a high quality butter and salt. Especially in the spring, this French pairing is all over the place. You can see how to serve radishes with butter and salt from Williams-Sonoma here. As noted, the butter is best served softened for easy dipping and spreading.
Another important factor is the salt. Salt, salt, salt! Choose a flaky, high-quality fleur de sal is the best but you can make do with other types of salt. You want to have a coarse sea salt, though. Morton’s table salt simply will not do – the granules are so small that you’ll risk having an overly-salty tasting tartine.
Radishes Are Actually Super Flavorful
Your first reaction to this radish and butter pairing might be one of doubt. “Aren’t radishes flavorless?” you may be asking. From the grocery store, perhaps. From the garden? No chance. A real radish has a strong, black pepper spice to it that tastes amazing, especially with the crunchy texture of radishes. I was shocked the first time my mother grew radishes in the garden when I was growing up. The radish literally tasted spicy! I would compare it to biting into a whole peppercorn. I was used to the mild version grown in massive quantities and shipped all over the country.
Do what you can to find locally grown, organic radishes as they’ll have the best flavor. If you have to settle for the milder radishes from the grocery store, don’t worry. All radishes will provide the necessary and satiating crunch that makes this snack so enjoyable. This tartine will still be delicious, especially if the other ingredients really sing. I also like to add a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper to amp up that natural radish flavor.
Experiment With Different Butter Varities
The quality of each individual ingredient for these tartines is critical. The butter is perhaps the most crucial because it provides a fatty, flavor-enhancing base that can make or break the rest of the tartine. If you’re dealing with those mild radishes we discussed above, you have the opportunity to play around with some fun butter flavors. You can make your own herb butter at home. Try olive butter, tarragon butter, dill butter, rosemary butter…the options are endless. If you opt for a simple butter, just make sure it is high quality. The flavor is so different and a low-quality, chemical-tasting butter could leave this tartine tasting drab.
Stick To French Rosé For This French Appetizer
Tartine Radis-Beurre is not about being fancy. To me, it’s the kind of quick spring dish you serve while sipping some chilled rosé on the porch, enjoying the return of warm weather. So, rather than splurge on some high-end bottle, choose an inexpensive French rosé. I recently enjoyed this 2019 Aime La Vie Syrah-Grenache rosé. It is a Trader Joe’s exclusive bottle going for just $7.99. Insane, right? I love Trader Joe’s exclusive wines because the wine is not marked up as much so good wine can be found at cheaper prices. This bottle comes from the Languedoc region of France, located in the south of the country along the Mediterranean Sea. The south of France is known for producing good rosé, so you can’t go wrong (even with a super cheap bottle like this one!). Have a couple bottles on hand when serving this pairing for guests – you’ll all be drinking it like water!
If you like the sound of this perfect-for-spring radish and butter tartine, you’ll also love these Green Apple and Chèvre Crostini. Serve them together for the ultimate spring appetizer spread.Print
Salty, pepper-y, buttery, with the refreshing crunch of radish, this tartine is perfect for spring. Traditionally called “Tartine Radis-Beurre”, this French classic relies on using the highest quality ingredients for maximum flavor of otherwise simple foods.
- French baguette or other artisan bread
- High-quality butter, softened
- Fleur de Sal or other coarse sea salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Slice baguette into approximately 1/4″ slices. Toasting is optional – I find this tartine is best when the bread is not toasted, but if you’re looking for some warmth or extra crunch, feel free to try toasting.
- Spread a generous portion of butter onto each slice of baguette. The butter shouldn’t be melting entirely into the bread. You really want to taste the butter in each bite (I didn’t say this was a health food!).
- Thinly slice radishes into at least 1/8″ thick slices. You want them to be thick enough to have a satisfying crunch. If they’re too thin, they’re kind of disappear into the butter.
- Sprinkle on fleur de sal or other coarse sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Serve with a chilled French rosé!
Choose the highest quality ingredients possible! Tartine Radis-Beurre is all about highlighting these simple, springtime ingredients in their natural form.
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