Friday, February 5, 2010
The Underapreciated Kohlrabi (German Turnip)
The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.
-Raw: the simplest and most obvious choice. Simply peel the outer layer of skin off with a vegetable peeler and shave it raw over a salad. Combining it with a mellow-flavored lettuce like iceberg, Boston, or romaine and a dressing made with an aggressive vinegar like balsamic or red wine makes an unusual salad.
-Quick Stovetop Braise: Peel and slice the kohlrabi into wedges like an orange. Sauté them lightly in olive oil and then add some water. Cover and cook them until they are tender when pierced with tip of a knife. A squirt of lemon juice and this is a delicious companion for grilled pork chops or fresh salmon.
-Oven-Roasted: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Peel and cut the bulbs into thick slices and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season them with salt and pepper and dot them with either butter or olive oil. Pour a little orange juice in the bottom of the pan and place the tray in the center of the oven. Cook until tender, adding more orange juice if needed. Alternatively, place the slices in the bottom of a roasting pan underneath a roast beef or chicken so the vegetable gets cooked with the drippings of the meat.
-Boiled: Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt to taste and slices of peeled Kohlrabi. Cook until tender, drain thoroughly and toss directly into a bowl with a sherry or rice wine vinaigrette. Use this opportunity to marinate the kohlrabi overnight in the bowl, if desired, and add some freshly chopped parsley or chives before serving cold (or heated up) the next day.