Long ‘n Lean Salsify
Salsify has been popular in Europe since the 16th century, this root has just begun to make its appearance in markets.
Salsify must be peeled, blanched and sauteed or roasted and has a taste akin to oysters; hence its name oyster plant.
Salsify is the long, white, tapering root of the biennial plant Tragopogon porrifolius.
Salsify is called vegetable oyster because of its faint oyster-like flavor. This name is used interchangeably to describe two roots.
White salsify is pale, thin, forked, has rootlets at the bottom, while black salsify (scorzonera) looks like a brown carrot and is much smoother and longer looking.
Salsify grows wild in Europe and requires a long warm season for full maturation.
Black salsify is grown in Spain and possesses a similar taste to its white counterpart.
A few farmers specializing in organic produce grow salsify in North America.
Most of the oyster plant used in restaurants is canned and imported.
Salsify goes very well with roasted beef and can be used in stews, and cream soups.
Ways to Eat Salisify
- Steam salsify and serve with your favorite vinaigrette as a delicious side dish.
- Add sliced salsify to all your soups and stews for added flavor interest.
- Serve mashed salsify instead of the usual mashed potatoes.
- Make salsify pureed soup by pureeing salsify, adding your favorite herbs and spices, and serving it with whole grain rolls for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
In San Francisco’s historic Westin Hotel, a central entree is highlighted with a trio of diverse accompaniments. Something standard like fish and chips becomes potato crusted dover sole surrounded by cauliflower puree, roasted sweet onion puree and truffle salisify. The objective? Turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
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