Friday, 9 January 2009

Salsify your soul

Can’t stomach oysters? Root vegetable to the rescue… salsify hails from the dandelion family and is also known as the oyster plant because it tastes like native bivalves when cooked; or artichokes according to others.

Salsify comes in two shades — gnarly and white or stick-like, bark-skinned black, also known as scorzonera, which can be found at farmers’ markets. Confused?

Treat salsify like parsnips Рafter a scrub and peel it can be boiled then saut̩ed in butter, mashed, used in soups and stews, chopped thinly into chips or pan roasted with lemon, pepper and herbs.

Gordon Ramsay, who unseasonably had salsify on the menu at one of his London restaurants in June this year – tut, tut - uses the root vegetable with roasted Gressingham duck or partridge and honey-glazed onions or in an Indonesian stir fry with chicken.

Highlight the slight sweetness of roast salsify with a classic minerally Riesling Tradition, Albert Mann, Alsace, France 2006 (£14.20; everywine.co.uk).