The other day at the farmers market David from Crescent Moon Farm pointed out that they had a small basket of salsify. It’s a root vegetable, similar to a parsnip. But, it looks like you hit a carrot with an ugly stick. Repeatedly. Sure sounds appetizing now. Why not buy a couple to try out?
Anyway, I was putting together a hodgepodge dinner the other night and planned on roasting potatoes. Not having had ANY experience with this particular veg, I did some internet research and found that salsify could be roasted in about the same time as the potatoes.
The recipes all said to peel it and immediately get it into a bowl of (culinary term of the day) acidulated water (just water with some lemon in it). As I peeled them (and didn’t bother with a bowl of acidulated water), they almost immediately went from gleaming white to an unattractive shade of brown. So that’s why they wanted me to use the lemon water!
They were just going to be roasted as part of a quiet family dinner, and there were only three of them, so I didn’t much care what they looked like. Salsify, (or Goatsbeard) is often called Oyster Plant for it’s oyster-like flavor. I found that the flavor was quite mild, and pleasant, but I didn’t taste the oyster (maybe because I’ve never had oysters).
What I did taste was a distinct artichoke heartiness. Others at the table said they did too. I love artichokes, and artichoke hearts. Another of my favorite things. So, I’ve been officially salsify-ed. I go through phases of more or less adventurousness with “new” veggies (our sunchoke gratin fiasco a few years ago is one I won’t soon repeat), but I’m quite pleased to have been introduced to salsify. I’m really not a parsnip person, so I think this would make a wonderful parsnip alternative in a root vegetable dish.
One last thing. I think I should mention that, though no one else in the family experienced this, let’s just say I could have wind-powered the whole neighborhood that night. Yep, I’ll leave you with that small warning.