Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Salsify

Salsify was one of my 'ooh must try that' attempts at the allotment, I had heard it described as a vegetable oyster, so how could I resist?
I have planted two rows of seed each year since, it grows well producing lush foliage and last year, the first time I let it go to seed, it produced little yellow flowers on three foot high spikes that left me with plenty of seed to grow from this year.
The root is the bit you eat and that is where the fun begins,
when you see pictures of it there are these lovely long whitish roots  [looking like long white carrots but a little hairier] well I do get lovely long white roots,
but that is the problem I can never seem to get them out in one piece, as my lovely long roots are always snapping!
So I end up very muddy when I go to dig up some salsify and I always end up with a collection of broken roots, not that it affects the flavour at all, but they do discolour which is a little annoying when you want to be able to produce that perfectly pale bowl of delicious saslify soup for dinner.

But I digress
When you get your salsify home, [broken or otherwise] it then needs a wash and a peel and popping into a bowl of water that has a little lemon juice in it - the lemon juice stops the discolouration occurring [or in my case getting any worse!]. This all sounds very easy but I always find it very fiddly and time consuming ..... so why do I bother?
Well the answer is simple,
it is really quite delicious.
There are two meals that I have tried so far that make all this worthwhile
a salsify soup and a salsify version of a dauphinoise
this is the recipe for the soup.
Salsify, diced [at least two large roots]
one onion, diced
good vegetable stock [ about 1.5 litres]
one large potato, diced
butter,
olive oil
seasoning
a little cream [optional]
truffle oil or truffle infused oil or a few diced and pan fried shitake [optional ]

Melt a knob of butter in a large pan with a splash of olive oil and gently fry off the onion until softened, add the salsify and potato and coat in the oil, add a little stock to prevent it sticking and cook for a few minutes, stirring.
Add the rest of the stock, bring up to a boil then cover, turn down to a simmer and cook until the salsify is very soft. You now need to either press it all through a sieve, or use a food processor or whizzy whizz to make it into a velvety smooth puree.
Taste, season and return to the pan, add additional stock or a little cream if you would like it thinner and serve garnished with a swirl of truffle oil or a sprinkling of pan fried shitake mushrooms.

The truffle oil or mushrooms are something that seem to compliment the salsify perfectly, and the potato adds something too, it is not just there as a thickener. 

The richness and subtle depth of flavour of this simple soup make it all very worthwhile.
I will be planting this years salsify soon.

5 comments:

  1. I always stop at the salsify section in the seed catalogs. Next year it may find its way in the garden. Thanks for the recipe it sounds delicious!

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  2. you're very kind... thank you... and please DO try it at least once :-)

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  3. Thanks for the recipe, I might just give Salsify a go now I know what to do with it! Thanks also for visiting my blog and your lovely comment.

    Karen

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  4. please do try salsify, it can be so delicious,
    [and your photographs really are amazing you know]

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