Salsify is essentially a new vegetable to me 1. So I was excited when my colleague Kate brought round some Salsify from her veg box on our last team work day. (She always brings a nice vegetable for us to add to lunch). I don’t know if they’re always like this but these were particularly muddy specimens.
I thought I could scrub them clean so I didn’t peel them away to nothing, but they’re soft so the scrubby left marks which the dirt got into, and it took forever, so I peeled the rest.
I cooked them following a braising recipe from The Cranks Bible, it is a formula Nadine Abensur uses on various root vegetables, called Stoved roots (potatoes, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes etc). For salsify Nadine suggests using: a pinch of Marigold (veggie) stock powder, a pinch of saffron, a little olive oil and a big squeeze of lemon juice and enough water to cover. After bringing to the boil I turned it down and simmered for about 20 min until tender (the liquid is mostly evaporated). Then I added a sprinkling of parsley to serve.
I like how the saffron made them turn a nice yellow colour. They tasted lovely, though the flavour is very subtle, so the lemony-saffron sauce helps. They taste a bit like artichoke, but really, it is hard to compare them to anything.
I read that they’re a good crop to grow for eating this time of year when you might not have much (read: anything!) coming off the allotment, so I’ve bought some seeds to grow for next winter.
1. I remember we occasionally served some bland looking white spears as a vegetable at a private club I waitressed at in Montreal but I don’t remember the taste. I have a feeling they could have been prepared with a little more love.)