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Radishes can save the day, especially when the day is a scorcher and summer harvest is weeks away. Radishes are crisp and refreshing and you can eat your fill of them without worry, as a cup of sliced radishes contains a mere 17 calories. Eating lightly helps you stay cool.

Radishes are wonderful dipped in whole-milk yogurt or chopped and stirred into it for a fast radish raita, an Indian condiment typically served alongside curries and such but pretty good with almost any type of meat, poultry, seafood or grilled vegetable.

The best place to get radishes is at farmers markets and local farm stands, of course, in part because you're more likely to get radishes with pert, fresh greens from these sources. When you do, don't discard them. Instead, set them aside to use in green salads and in soups. If they are very fresh and not too large, you can also use them in the radish vinaigrette and radish salsa that follow here. Simply slice about a tablespoon or so very thin and stir them in with the other herbs.

My niece, who lives in Windsor, asked me about French Breakfast radishes the other day, especially about why she so often gets ones that are hollow and pithy inside.

It happens all the time. Even the best farmers have a few runaways, so to speak, that grow too fast, though it more often indicates a radish that has dried out from lack of water or poor post-harvest storage. One here and there is unavoidable, but if you get a bunch of radishes that are all hollow, you should return them or at least tell the farmer or, if from a market, the manager about them.

In recent weeks, there have been plenty of local radishes of all types, including daikon, at our local farmers markets. For more radish recipes from the Seasonal Pantry archives, visit "Eat This Now" at <a href="http://pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com">pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com</a>.

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This simple vinaigrette is especially good with seafood, from Oregon baby-shrimp salad to pan-seared scallops and grilled snapper and salmon. It is also lovely spooned over avocado.

<b>Radish Vinaigrette</b>

Makes about 3/4 cup

<i>1 small shallot, minced

3 medium radishes, trimmed and minced

—Kosher salt

3 tablespoons best-quality white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar

—Squeeze of lime juice, optional

—Black pepper in a mill

1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives

6 tablespoons best-quality extra virgin olive oil</i>

Put the shallot and radishes in a small bowl, season generously with salt and add the vinegar and lime juice, if using. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Add several turns of black pepper and the chives, stir in the olive oil, taste and correct for salt.

This dressing is best the same day it is made but it will last, covered and refrigerated, for a second day.

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This radish salsa is a refreshing change from more traditional salsas, especially before tomato season kicks in. I love it with tacos and find it refreshing with chips and a cold beer, too.

<b>Radish Salsa</b

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

<i>1 large bunch radishes, preferably French Breakfast radishes, trimmed and cut into small dice

1 very small red onion, cut into small dice

1 fresh serrano, seeded and minced

2 cloves of spring (fresh, not cured) garlic, if available, minced

— Zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Mexican oregano, if available (more cilantro, if not)

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste</i>

Put the diced radishes, onion, serrano, garlic (if using) and lemon zest into a medium bowl. Add the cilantro and Mexican oregano, if available, and toss gently but thoroughly.

Season generously with kosher salt and several turns of black pepper, add the lemon juice and toss again.

Stir in the olive oil, cover, refrigerate for 30 minutes, taste, correct for salt and acid balance and enjoy.

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These tacos are excellent on their own, either on a hot night or as an appetizer. They are also a nice dish to have around as a vegetarian option, especially when you are serving other kinds of tacos.

<b>Grilled Radish Tacos</b>

Makes 4 servings

<i>2 bunches Easter Egg or similar radishes, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

— Olive oil

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

8 small corn tortillas

1 avocado, cut into very thin lengthwise slices

— Radish salsa or other salsa or Mexican hot sauce of choice</i>

Put the trimmed and cut radishes into a small bowl, toss with a small splash of olive oil, season with salt and black pepper, toss and grill on a stove-top grill or outdoor grill for about 2 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, heat tortillas until they are hot and pliable but not at all crisp.

Set 2 tortillas on top of each other on individual plates and divide the sliced avocado among them, placing it down the center of the top tortilla, and season them with a little salt. Add radishes on top of the avocado, season with salsa or hot sauce. Enjoy immediately.

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I love these sandwiches for breakfast, especially in the spring. Sometimes I use fresh chevre or old-fashioned cream cheese in place of creme fraiche and I use whatever radishes I have on hand.

<b>Open-Faced Radish Sandwiches</b>

Makes 1 serving, easily doubled or tripled

<i>2 slices of your favorite bread, lightly toasted

3 to 4 tablespoons creme fraiche

— Kosher salt

3 to 4 small French Breakfast radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh snipped chives or chopped Italian parsley

— Black pepper in a mill</i>

Set the toast on a clean work surface or plate and slather the creme fraiche over both slices, using a single motion for both pieces of bread; do not rub the creme fraiche into the bread.

Season lightly with salt and cover with radish slices, tiling them over the bread. Scatter chives or parsley on top, add a bit of black pepper and enjoy.

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Here is a simple pickle that is refreshing and delicious as a side dish with a wide array of foods, including roasted chicken, rice dishes and curries. If you've wanted to try your hand at pickles but worried they might be too complicated, this is a great place to start.

<b>Daikon Radish & Carrot Pickle</b>

Makes about 3 cups

<i>1 pound carrots, preferably Nantes or a yellow variety, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 pound daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 serrano, minced, optional

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 cup best-quality white wine, Champagne or rice vinegar

—Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup sugar</i>

Put the carrots, daikon and serrano, if using, into a glass bowl, add the salt and toss gently. Set aside for 30 to 40 minutes, during which time the salt will pull liquid from the vegetables.

Tip the vegetables into a strainer and shake off excess liquid. Return to a clean bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, lime juice and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste and dilute with water, as much as ? cup, until it tastes as you would like; vinegars vary widely in strength so it is impossible to say exactly how much you'll need.

Pour the dressing over the carrot and daikon mixture, toss, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and as long as 2 to 3 weeks.

<i>Michele Anna Jordan has written 17 books to date, including "Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings." You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. Email Jordan at michele@saladdresser.com.</i>