Dear BA Foodist,
I've officially got the winter cooking blues. I'm so sick of cooking potatoes and brussels sprouts. Any vegetable suggestions to tide me over until asparagus season?
Sally Degage, Princeton, New Jersey
Because of ingredient availability, cooking in winter can be more challenging than in spring and summer. Perhaps you are buying the wrong vegetables. There's a whole world of unsung winter vegetables that are increasingly available in supermarkets across America. To inspire you, I've listed my favorite winter vegetables along with recipes from five great chefs. So far we've covered cardoon, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, and rutabaga. Last up is salsify (aka oyster plant), a mildly sweet root that looks like a dirty brown carrot.
from Bobby Duncan at Fort Defiance restaurant, Brooklyn
6 salsify roots
1 sprig of thyme
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 cups of whole milk
2 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1) Peel salsify with vegetable peeler making sure to remove the black skin and place immediately in salted water with a half lemon squeezed in until you are ready to cook.
2) After salsify are peeled, remove from the water, cut in half and place in a stock pot with 3 cups milk, stock (if the salsify are large and the liquid doesn't cover by at least one inch and more milk) and thyme. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt and about 6 grinds of fresh black pepper.
3) Bring to a slow simmer and gently poach the salsify until they are completely tender, about 13 minutes.
4) With a slotted spoon, move the tender salsify into a food processor, add some of the poaching liquid and carefully begin pureeing. Add butter and more of the liquid as needed to gain a consistency near that of heavy cream. Puree until smooth and taste, adding salt and pepper if needed.
5) Serve warm, with black pepper and olive oil croutons (hearty day old baguette or peasant bread, cubed, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and dried in a warm oven until golden brown).
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