Difficulty Level Easy
I was searching for ramps at my farmers' market last week, but apparently I was a bit early for it. What I found instead was salsify. It is apparently, the root of the perennial plant Goatsbeard, which I happen to have growing in my garden. It is the colour of dirt and it has lots of silky little roots growing from it. In other words, totally unappetizing-looking. I had to try it.
I did a lot of searching through my cookbooks for recipes for this homely vegetable and I found a number of mentions of it, but no recipes. When I checked the Internet, I discovered that you can cook it pretty much any way you would cook a potato. I had some organic cream in my refrigerator left over from my Jerusalem artichoke soup recipe, so I had to find a way to incorporate the two ingredients to make dinner. When I have no idea what to make, my fall back plan is always to make up a pasta dish, so that's what I did.
You have to peel salsify to reveal the white flesh beneath the nasty looking exterior. I chopped the roots into bite-size pieces, and boiled it for a few minutes before adding it to the pasta sauce I had made. I think I should have sautéed it along with the garlic and onion instead of boiling it. I had read in a number of places that salsify is also commonly known as "Oyster plant", because of it's taste. I actually couldn't discern much of any kind of taste. I had expected some earthy kind of flavour, but it was very bland. If I tried this vegetable again, I think I would roast it with some olive oil and garlic for 20 minutes in a 350F oven. Unlike the celeriac and Jerusalem artichokes that I tried for this series, I don't think salsify is going to become a regular purchase for me.
|1 tbsp||olive oil|
|1 tbsp||unsalted butter|
|2 bulbs||of garlic, or two cloves of garlic|
|Salt and pepper to taste|
|Cooked pasta for 2|
- Peel and chop salsify. Heat water in a small saucepan and cook salsify for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve. If you prefer, skip this step and add it directly to the pan with the garlic and onion.
- Heat oil and butter in frying pan and sauté the garlic and onion until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cream and cheese and allow to cook for a few minutes to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta.