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Jenise

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Does anyone here ever cook salsify?

by Jenise » Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:45 pm

Though I'm a real adventurer when it comes to vegetables (there's virtually none I don't like), somehow salsify has never crossed my path. I've never eaten it or cooked it, and I don't even think it's sold where I live--when I see strange/new vegetables, I always buy and try. But salsify? No clue. I don't even know if there's a part of the world it's especially prized in, though I have a vague notion from something like an old Creedance Clearwater song that it's popular in the south. I can only certify that it's definitely isn't popular in California, Alaska, or Washington state. :)

Anyway, I was struck by all that when I encountered three recipes for salsify in the Italian answer to Joy of Cooking, the Silver Spoon, this morning, so they've at least heard of it in Italy. Looks like it's a root vegetable that takes to a lot of the same treatments one would use for beets, say.

Anyone love it?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Robin Garr

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Re: Does anyone here ever cook salsify?

by Robin Garr » Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:38 pm

Jenise wrote:Anyone love it?


It's hard to say "love" when I've only had it about twice, Jenise. ;) I think it's definitely popular in the South, though, or maybe Appalachia. I know it's nicknamed "oyster plant," at least regionally, and one popular presentation is to peel it (it's a long, somewhat carrot-shaped root with dark-brown, inedible skin), cut it into thick coins, cook it till it's soft and then serve it with a white cream sauce. I've had it this way at Shakertown at Pleasant Hill, Ky., and made it at home once, years and years ago, just so I could say I tried it.

It does taste a little like fresh steamed oysters in cream sauce, or at least if you know it's called oyster plant, suggestibility does the rest.

I've never seen or heard of it in an Italian connection, but <i>Silver Spoon</I> surely didn't make it up.

Bottom line, it's good, but some trouble. I think you can get it at grocery stores around here, at least in season. But I haven't really troubled to get it again.
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Bob Ross

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Re: Does anyone here ever cook salsify?

by Bob Ross » Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:54 pm

We called it Goats Beard, Jenise.

It's a hardy biennial in Wisconsin, and tastes a bit like artichokes -- I loved the taste of artichokes which were dreadfully expensive. We always had a row next to the carrots. We ate it in stews and steamed.

My memory is that it came from England, but grows throughout Europe.
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Bernard Roth

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Re: Does anyone here ever cook salsify?

by Bernard Roth » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:22 am

It is very popular in France, Germany and Italy. I have canned salsify in the pantry.

I have bought salsify in raw, root form. It looks almost like Burdock, so you have to be careful when buying. All you have to do is wash the root, peel it and immediately put the peeled root into acidified water. When ready, drain and cook. I think sauteing is best, but you could steam. I would not roast it because it might be too dry to cook well, but if you steam it first, it will roast just fine.

You also need to be aware that there are two similar plants that might be called salsify. One is black salsify, the other white salsify. You can search the web to learn about them. One of them is the European variety, the other is more common in the US. I forget which variety is called Oyster Plant.
Regards,
Bernard Roth
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Bob Ross

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Re: Does anyone here ever cook salsify?

by Bob Ross » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:53 am

I checked the current Burpee catalog, and it brought back memories, Jenise. This is what we used to buy and plant next to carrots. I even remember the Fed's brochure on salsify, although I don't see it online.

I do know that it's rarely grown commercially -- not enough demand -- although it's sometimes at farmer's markets in our area.

Burpee link.
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Does anyone here ever cook salsify?

by Gary Barlettano » Wed Feb 21, 2007 6:37 pm

Jenise wrote:Anyone love it?


Me, me, me!! I do!!

I used to eat this all the time in Germany where it's called "Schwarzwurzeln" (black roots). Usually it'd be served cubed in a kind of cream sauce which was basically just a roux with a little milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. It was delicious in its simplicity.
And now what?
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Jenise

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Re: Does anyone here ever cook salsify?

by Jenise » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:31 am

Thanks all for your input. Interesting that even though several of you have some familiarity with this root vegetable, not one person said "yeah, we have it all the time". It really is as uncommon as it appeared to be from here.

Bernie, do you stock canned because there are dishes it's neccessary to and you can't find it fresh? Canned sounds rather unusual, in particular for an ingredient-driven cook like yourself.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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