How to cook with salsify?
I am sure that salsify is a quite old-fashioned root vegetable nowadays and that’s why salsify is not easy to find anymore. Sometimes my local supermarket in Belgium has fresh salsify roots for sale but only in certains months. I can actually find canned salsify much easier than the fresh one. But I don’t really like it. It’s like fresh white asparagus and its canned siblings. Meh. No thanks.
What does salsify taste like? Difficult one. If you haven’t tried salsify before: I would say that cooked salsify roots taste kind of like parsnips and white asparagus, something in between that. Salsify root is also known as vegetable oyster or oyster plant.
My mom used to prepare them sometimes when I was little but I have to admit I wasn’t too fond of the taste either… She would boil them until tender and then add a light bechamel sauce to the salsify. Same thing for fennel, celeriac or Brussel sprouts. Fortunately my taste buds were so kind to man up a bit over the years. I can’t get enough of these delicious veggies nowadays!
Roasted Salsify with Lemon in the OvenMy husband adores salsify but there’s just one problem: he doesn’t digest salsify root all that well. Even plain and simple boiled salsify are tricky. There’s something in this vegetable that makes his stomach quite upset, cramps and such. Because of this, I don’t cook with salsify that often. But the coast was clear when he went out for dinner with a friend a couple of evenings ago. I went straight to my local supermarket, treated myself to a huge parcel of fresh salsify roots, cleaned them, roasted salsify in the oven and devoured every piece of it. How I love that golden caramelized color on them!
- 2 lbs (900 g) fresh salsify roots
- juice of 1 medium lemon
- 1 small glass dry white wine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Rinse and brush the salsify first because the roots can be very sandy and dirty. Then peel them.
- Rinse them well under cold running tap water again. Make sure that all the sand and dirt are totally washed off. While peeling the salsify, let the peeled roots soak in some water with half of the lemon juice. This keeps them from oxidation that makes the white salsify yellow once they are peeled.
- Then chop the peeled salsify into smaller even bits. Pour the vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan or wok and place it over high heat. Add the chopped salsify and season with a little pinch of pepper, salt and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Quickly stir fry the salsify for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the rest of the lemon juice and the dry white wine.
- Transfer the stir fried salsify to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with an extra pinch of pepper and salt.
- Bake the salsify in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 40 to 45 minutes until the salsify is soft and golden. Gently stir the vegetables halfway through cooking time. Remove the salsify from the oven, sprinkle with the freshly chopped parsley and extra olive oil.
- Check the seasoning and add extra nutmeg, pepper or salt to taste if necessary. Serve hot.
Salsify Puree Mashed Potatoes
Are you tired of eating the same old classic mashed potatoes over and over again? Then try this next salsify recipe: my buttery salsify puree mashed potatoes! The preparation is very simple, no secrecy behind it at all. The hardest part is to clean the fresh salsify. Then just cook them together with the potatoes, drain the lot and mash all the vegetables up with a good dash of pepper, nutmeg and salt or whatever seasoning you like. And don’t forget the butter!I kept the salsify puree mashed potatoes quite chunky but you can make it as velvety as you like of course.
This salsify puree mashed potatoes is an awesome potato side dish for game and red meat, a true autumn and winter dish! I adore it in combination with venison.
- 1 lb (450 g) fresh salsify roots
- 10,5 oz (300 g) potatoes for mash
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
- • Rinse and brush the salsify first because the roots can be very sandy and dirty. Then peel them.
- • Rinse them well under cold running tap water again. Make sure that all the sand and dirt are totally washed off. While peeling the salsify, let the peeled roots soak in some water with half of the lemon juice. This keeps them from oxidation that makes the white salsify yellow once they are peeled.
- • Then chop the peeled salsify roots into small bits. Also peel the potato and chop it up. Peel the garlic cloves and slice them in half.
- • Bring a large pan of salted tap water to a rolling boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the chopped vegetables and the garlic cloves. Turn the heat a little lower.
- • Put a lid on the pan and cook the potatoes and salsify for 12 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Then drain them all well. Return the cooked vegetables to the pan and add the unsalted butter. Season with a good pinch of pepper, salt and nutmeg to taste. Mash the vegetables well. Make the salsify puree mashed potatoes as chunky or as velvety as you like.
- • Check the seasoning of the mash and add extra pepper, salt or nutmeg to taste if necessary.
- • Transfer the salsify puree mashed potatoes to a serving bowl and top with a little extra knob of unsalted butter. Garnish the potato mash with a last sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot.