I have seen this oddly looking root vegetable, that resembles a dried wooden stick at the farmer’s market before, but I never got the courage or interest to buy and try to cook it.
The other day, as I opened my vegetable subscription box from my local farmer, I saw it there, hidden in a paper wrap between the other vegetables. It almost looked as if it was trying to hide itself from me. Its crusty skin, which was all covered in soil didn’t look appealing and I was scratching my head wondering how I will use this oddly looking root.
But appearances can deceive.
Though not exactly pretty, salsify, turns out, has remarkable nutritional and flavour properties.
Full of nutrients
Black salsify is a source of inulin, which is great in promoting a healthy gut and smooth digestion. It’s also a significant source of iron, copper, and vitamin C. These nutrients are important for maintaining healthy hair. Salsify is actually known to help combat hair loss, and so makes a perfect addition to your menu, especially if you’re postpartum. It also contains minerals, such as phosphorus, calcium and manganese, which are important for developing and maintaining healthy bone tissue.
How to cook salsify
Once you get over the initial intimidation, you’ll find out it’s actually quite fool proof to cook with. You only need to pay attention to a few simple steps and you’ll be preparing salsify with ease.
Because it was my first time cooking salsify, I decided to go for something simple as making a purée. This would allow me to familiarize myself better with it and discover its taste. I did a quick research about it beforehand. The fact that this root vegetable is also called “oyster plant”, because of its faintly oystery flavor when cooked, did not make it very promising to me. Turned out, salsify did not taste like oysters, which I was happy to discover.
I started by washing the salsify well under room temperature water. Then I prepared a bowl of water and squeezed the juice of one lemon in it. The white flesh inside can brown very quickly so I was prepared. I then peeled the skin and chopped the salsify into 5cm chunks, adding them into the lemon water as I went. Another thing to consider when preparing salsify is that the flesh is quite sticky, so I wanted to make sure you’re aware of that, as it can be a little unpleasant.
The rest of the preparation is pretty straight forward as you’ll see in the recipe below. Personally, I missed some strong flavor, hence why I added the mustard, but feel free to try it without and see how you feel about it.
I served the salsify purée along with wild salmon and green salad, which I thought was a very pleasant combination. Here’s the recipe for you to try:
Quick salsify purée
- 600g black salsify
- 50ml plant milk
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice + the juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp ghee
- 1 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the salsify well under running water and scrub the soil off the skin.
- Pour some water in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon in it.
- Peel the salsify and cut into 5cm chunks. Add the chopped salsify immediately in the lemon water to prevent it from browning. Continue the same way with the rest of the salsify.
- Bring some water to a boil and add the salsify to it. Discard the lemon water.
- Cook for about 15 minutes, until tender and soft.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked salsify into a food processor or blender.
- Add the plant milk, ghee, lemon juice, salt, pepper and mustard to the salsify and blend until creamy.
- Garnish with some parsley and serve.