In this soup, the radishes are first sautéed or roasted, then blended with milk or milk substitute. The initial sauté or roast mellows the tang and sharpness of the radishes, giving them a gently spiciness that is further enhanced by the sweetness of the milk. You can purée the radishes or not, or purée some of them. This recipe originally called for all black radishes, and it’s very good made with just black radishes, but I think a combination of radishes makes for a more interesting flavor mix.

4 T butter or vegetable oil, divided
4 -6 c (peeled) and chopped or sliced winter radishes
1 c chopped onion
3 T flour
3 c milk, or a combination of milk and cream, or milk substitute
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 t ground nutmeg or ground cardamom or ground coriander
1/2 t fish sauce, optional
fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish, optional

1. If sautéing, heat butter or heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add radishes and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the radishes are tender and perhaps even slightly browning. Remove from heat and let cool. If roasting, don’t chop the onion, but slice into thick rings. Combine onion and radishes with the (melted) butter or oil in a baking sheet and roast in a 350° oven for about 20 – 30 minutes, until tender and a little browned. Stir once to prevent burning. Remove and let cool.

2. If puréeing, put radishes and onions in a blender or food process along with a splash of milk and purée. Reserve.

3. In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt remaining butter or heat remaining oil over low heat. Add the flour, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Gently add the milk, increase heat some and bring just to a boil, stirring more or less constantly. The milk will thicken. Reduce heat and add the radishes and onions, in whatever form you have chosen, along with some salt and pepper, spice, and fish sauce, if using. Gently heat through.

4. Serve, sprinkled with some fresh herb, if available.