Yes, the black salsify does look like a stick, and pretty dirty too. But Abel & Cole were waxing lyrical about it, calling it a hidden winter gem, and I was very curious to try this delicately flavoured root vegetable. It is often known as the oyster vegetable, because its flavour is reminiscent of oysters (whether it is true I don't know, as I haven't tried oysters either).
I was also intrigued to read about the provenance of Abel and Cole's black salsify. It is grown in a Dutch area reclaimed from the Zuidersea in the 1950-60s. The farm it comes from lies two to three metres below the sea level, isn't that amazing?
Having searched for a selection of black salsify recipes online, I decided that Abel and Cole's own recipe for Black salsify and wild mushrooms warm salad sounded the most enticing.
I picked two sticks, washed and scrubbed them, cut off the ends and cut into 3 pieces each. Cooked in salted boiling water for about 15 minutes, then as suggested, plunged them in the cold water, and later peeled the dark skin off. That's how the cooked black salsify looks (unadorned).
|Black salsify, cooked and skinned|
I also had a nice box of wild mushrooms from Tesco.
The cooked salsify was chopped into smaller pieces. Mushrooms wiped with a wet cloth and chopped roughly. Fry the mushrooms with two finely chopped cloves of garlic in the mix of olive oil and butter, season well. Add the salsify pieces and pine nuts (a handful), drizzle some good balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice.
It was a very satisfying warm salad. I liked the delicate flavour of the black salsify. It was great combination of earthy flavours. I didn't have the rocket, but I suppose it would have been a nice addition.
Serve with a nice chunk of sourdough bread to mop up all the juices. Enjoy!
As it is a vegetarian dish and a salad, it would fit nicely with No Croutons Required linky on Lisa's Kitchen blog.