7/10/2013

Scorzonera - Black Spanish Salsify

Copyright.Jim Long 2013

Scorzonera growing in bed.
This week we've been digging salsify. In the bed above are both the regular white salsify, and in the foreground is scorzonera, or black Spanish salsify. It's also known as oyster root due to its oyster-like, mild flavor. What is it used for you may ask? It's a popular vegetable in upscale restaurants that offer vegetarian dishes. Diners can enjoy the flavor of oysters, just the vegetable version!
Black salsify, or scorzonera roots.
 The roots grow deep and when they're dug, must be washed and the outside peeling scraped, which is an easy job. As soon as they're scraped, drop them in water in which you've added about a teaspoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar to keep them from darkening. I planted mine in the first week of March and they're already to harvest in July. Supposedly they'll stay ready for harvest into the winter, although one of mine is already blooming and usually when a plant does that, the root loses its vigor quickly.
Salsify flower. The seed head looks like a giant dandelion seed puff.
Here's what I did with the roots I dug this week. I scraped and dunked them in water/lemon juice. Then diced up the roots, boiled them about 10 minutes and drained. I put them in a casserole dish with some heavy cream, a layer of bread crumbs and a topping of provolone cheese, with another dusting of bread crumbs. I baked that for 10 minutes and served with the rest of the meal, below.
Chilled lettuce soup with Bruchetta on sour dough toast.


On the plate, upper left is the salsify casserole. Below that is a fresh corn pudding. Center is grilled salmon on a bed of freshly grilled fennel bulb and on the side, lemon basil-steamed shrimp from the grill.
Dessert was a doughnut peach pavlova topped with whipped cream. Doughnut peaches are only in season a short while and the flavor is heavenly. Pavlova, if you don't know the dish, is the national dessert of Australia (or New Zealand, they argue about who originated it). It's made of very stiffly beaten egg whites with sugar and vanilla, which is very slowly baked until crisp. You can top it with fruit of any kind. I chose to top it with peaches which I simmered with some fresh ginger and sugar and over that, I put a big dollop of real whipped cream.
Fennel bulb.
The fennel is ready for harvesting, as well, and we've been enjoying it steamed, grilled and in sauces. In the plate, far above, some steamed and buttered fennel bulb was under the grilled salmon.
So that's it, that's what's happening in the garden this week. I hope your week is going well, too!

2 comments:

Martha said...

My oh my you are eating well! Yum and Yum.
Please invite us for something, anything!

******* :-) said...

Have you ever fixed Burdock Root? I have a huge crop growing by the barn ever since the mowers got out (who let the mowers out?) and spread the burrs all over a paddock (due to lack of oversight on our part). I have read they were edible, or medicinal, or both.
Thanks.