OlychickNovember 19, 2011

Hi, thought someone here might have experience cooking it. I've had it only in restaurants and have never seen it for sale in a market or at our wonderful farmer's market until today. I about flipped I was so excited and bought 2 bunches. It is not the black salsify. Does any here cook it and what is your favorite way? I'd like simple, not in cream sauce...something more like sauteed or oven roasted or..???

Thanks in advance.

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This is what the English chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says you can try :

The simplest way to prepare these lovely roots is to peel them, put them in a roasting tin, trickle over a little olive or rapeseed oil, add a few bashed garlic cloves and a bay leaf, and roast at 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, or follow Jane Grigson's excellent suggestion and sprinkle on some gremolata, that zingy southern Italian condiment made of lemon zest, finely chopped garlic and parsley. Or boil or steam them until just tender, chop small and serve with a mustardy, garlicky vinaigrette and perhaps a few pieces of diced ham, rather as you might with a celeriac remoulade.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 4:04AM
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Thanks Islay...I saw that on the internet, too. I was just hoping for some personal experience/favorites from the fabulous cooks here. Maybe it's just not popular enough an ingredient to have too many other fans.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 6:10PM
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Here's an old recipe from Shakertown at Pleasant Hill near Danville, Ky. They grow it there and refer to it as "oyster plant" because some feel its flavor is reminiscent of oysters. I've seen the plants available here in eastern NC in the spring time.

Scalloped Oyster Plant (Salsify)

Oyster plant, sliced
buttered bread crumbs

After digging salsify, keep 2 weeks in a cool place, not in refrigerator. When ready to use, slice into water to which a little flour or vinegar has been added to prevent discoloration. Drain. Add to fresh boiling water and cook until tender. Drain again. Grease baking dish. Layer crackers then oyster plant, Add seasoning and dots of butter to each layer. Pour cream about one inch deep in casserole. Top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees about 30 minutes. Serves 4-6.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:36PM
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Thank you pfmastin. Looks like it could be a poor woman's oyster stuffing casserole. I might try it, as well as the ones Islay posted. Can get me started anyway!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Devil's advocate here: I once grew some salsify in my garden. Maybe I prepared it incorrectly, but I have to say it was the most boring vegetable I've ever had. Not nasty, just boring. Those luscious herby cream sauces people recommend would make styrofoam packing peanuts taste good. I'm willing to try salsify again, but there's no way I'd put it in the same category with artichokes or fresh snap peas or fresh tomatoes or new potatoes. And no way, no how, does it taste like oysters. (Unless perhaps all you've ever tasted is lousy insipid oysters.)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:47PM
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lol, arley. Don't hold back now. Ya hear?

I've never had salsify but remember my GM mentioned it. She died back in the early 70's. My mother probably had it as a child but we definately never had it growing up. I really never knew what they were until after getting a computer and looking it up out of curiosity. In all honesty, I only remembered the name because my child self thought it was a funny sounding name.

Am I curious enough to try it now? Probably not at this late date.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:41PM
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I still haven't fixed what I bought and probably won't until after TG, but what I had before was in a restaurant and it was fabulous. It was many years ago and I recall it being different, not strongly flavored but subtle and sublime. It wasn't creamed, but maybe roasted? It was an upscale restaurant in Seattle. I've been looking for it ever since. After reading about it on the internet now, I wonder if it could have been the black salsify? I'll report back after I prepare it and see how it turns out.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 8:23PM
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I agree is a very subtle flavor and really doesn't taste like anything else by comparison (for me, at least). I don't like oysters, so pris is probably doesn't taste like oysters. :) Let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:24PM
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It's delicious imho hahaha. Love it sliced in a salad too. Or just plain boiled goes well with pork.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 2:52AM
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Islay, do you use it raw in salads?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:19PM
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No. I've never tried it raw. You need to cook them quickly after peeling so they don't blacken.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 3:45AM
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Islay: thanks for the recipe, sounds delicious and something we would definitely like. Marg

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 2:24PM
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I grew up on Salsify, my grandmother prepared it several times a week in winter. She would peel it, cut into pieces, sautee in butter until nicely browned and add salt, pepper, and a little broth. Simmer until tender and add lots of chopped parsley. Serve with a white sauce. To prevent a color change while preparing, she would put them in lemon water as soon as they were peeled.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 3:28PM
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