Salsify, Roasted

3 or 4 pieces of salsify per serving
Olive oil

1. Top and tail and scrape the salsify. Cut each piece into three pieces approximately  four inches long. Keep in water acidulated with a little lemon juice otherwise it will darken in color. When you are ready cut the salsify in half lengthwise, put in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over a tablespoon or two of olive oil and season with salt and fresh black pepper.
2. Cook at 400°F for about twenty minutes turning a couple of times until just tender. Serve in a fresh dish and sprinkle over a little chopped parsley.

More About Salsify
Salsify, Salsify, what is this strange root? If you were at market 2 weeks ago and stopped by Good Groceries and saw a strange skinny looking parsnip, you should win the golden farmers market award for finding the most unusual veggie at a market! This yummy root is surely not a normal find at any farmers market. Salsify is a white root or black depending on the variety, like a parsnip but skinnier.    All parts of the plant are edible. The greens are sweet, the root is tasty and easy to cook, and as if that weren’t enough, salsify’s purple flowers are really pretty.

Don’t mind the way the roots look; they are tan and shaggy with coarse side roots.  The taste out weighs the look of this root crop. To make them visually more appealing one can peel them with a vegetable peeler to reveal the snow-white flesh. They will oxidize (turn a darker color) so you can place them into a bowl of water with lemon juice, to keep them snowy white. If you plan to steam them and brown them in butter (I would!) then there is no need for soaking them in lemon juice that snowy white color will be disguised by the cooking process.  You can also use the greens, which look like tall, wide grass blades. The light-colored part of the leaf, the bottom six inches or so, is tender and delicious, like the bottom of a leek, and can be sautéed along with the roots.

The most surprising thing about salsify, the first time you eat it, is its flavor. Traditionally it is called “oyster plant,” and some folks say that they taste like oyster mushrooms. Don’t let that scare you off the root taste a lot like artichoke hearts, which is something we don’t get at a local farmers market in Georgia. I will take salsify over an artichoke heart any day!

Good Groceries at Tewksburry Farm has the white salsify this week and will have the black salsify very soon. Be sure to stop by his booth to get the ever so righteous salsify. Here are some recipes to try out. You can use the white salsify for the black in any of these recipes.