Salsify Recipes

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Creamed Salsify and Potatoes

(Salsifis et Pommes a la Creme)


Salsify is an important vegetable throughout France, and in this recipe, adapted from Jane Sigal’s 1993 Normandy Gastronomique, it is paired with potatoes in a white sauce to make a wonderful gratin.  While the original recipe used crème fraiche, we’ve cut back on the calories (but not the flavor) by using a white sauce.  Because we did not first make a roux, it is important to sift the flour into the sauce, stirring constantly, to ensure that lumps do no form. 

1 pound salsify, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ pound waxy red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” dice
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup milk 
¼ cup flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a deep pan, cover the peeled and cut salsify in water and add in the lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until tender, 15-20 minutes.   Drain.

In the same pan, cover the prepared potatoes with salted water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Drain. 

Melt butter in a heavy pan and add in the bread crumbs.  Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs begin to brown.  Remove from heat.

In a large saucepan combine the parboiled salsify and potatoes with the milk.  Bring to a simmer.  Sift in the flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Stir until any lumps are dissolved.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens.  Place into a buttered casserole, and top with the buttered bread crumbs.  Place under a broiler set to low, and cook for a few minutes until the bread crumbs are browned.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.




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Salsify Chowder


Given that salsify is often referred to as ‘oyster plant’ because of its shellfish-like flavor, it seemed obvious to use it in place of clams in a chowder, making a fully vegetarian stew.  But we could not find any recipes using this improvisation.  So we decided to fill the gap and create the recipe ourselves.  We started with a clam chowder from Steven Poses, Anne Clark & Becky Roller’s 1985 The Frog Commissary Cookbook, and retrofitted it for salsify.  We were very very pleased with the result, which we’ll immodestly state is the best vegetarian chowder we’ve ever eaten.  Like most chowders, it keeps very well and will taste as good – if not better – on the second and third days.  We’ve actually never grown salsify in our garden, but this chowder was so good we’re ordering salsify seed so that we can make this again using our home grown roots. 

1 cup dry posole (hominy)
1 pound salsify, peeled and cut into ½” dice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup butter
1 cup onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cups carrot, diced
½ cup celery, diced
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaf
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon mace
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups stock
2 cups dry white wine
1 pound red potatoes, cleaned and cut into ¼” dice
2 cups milk
¼ cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced

Place dry posole in a small pot with 4 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the kernels have become tender and popped, at least 2 hours.  Drain and set aside.

Cover prepared salsify with water.  Add in the lemon juice.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a large soup pot.  Add in the garlic and onion and sauté over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until translucent.  Add in the carrots, celery, and drained salsify.  Increase heat to medium high and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add in the flour, thyme, black pepper, celery seed, mace, cayenne, and salt.  Continue sautéing another 4-5 minutes.  Add in the stock, white wine, and potatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover.  Cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 15-30 minutes.  Add in the milk, bring to a simmer.  Add in the sherry and parsley.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.  If the soup becomes too thin, you may sift in more flour in 2 tablespoon units, stirring constantly so that lumps don't form.  Bring back to a simmer and the chowder thickens.  Repeat until the chowder has the desired thickness.  




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Salsify Fritters


Salsify is often referred to as ‘oyster plant’ because its roots do have a pronounced shellfish-like flavor.  The original recipe for the following dish, from Beatrice Vaughan’s 1963 Yankee Hill Country Cooking, used mashed salsify to create a mock oyster fritter.  We thought we could make these more interesting, and freely adapted it by adding in garlic, green onion, and parsley, and we were quite happy with the result. 

1 pound salsify, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons green onions, minced
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Cook the salsify in boiling water until tender, about 20-30 minutes.  Drain and mash.  Combine with remaining ingredients.  Fill a heavy skillet 1/2” deep in olive oil and bring to temperature over medium-high heat.  Drop 2 tablespoons of salsify mixture into hot oil and flatten slightly with the back of a large spoon.  Fry for about 5 minutes until browned on the bottom, and then turn over.  Cook for another 5 minutes until the other side is also browned.  Remove from the hot oil and drain on paper toweling.  These are very nice served with a dollop of sour cream or chevre.




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Salsify and Mushroom Paprikash


One of the most important classes of Hungarian dishes are paprikash, in which various ingredients are bathed in a thick dairy, garlic, and paprika sauce.  In the following, adapted from a recipe presented in George Lang’s 1971 The Cuisine of Hungary (ISBN 978-0517169636) the paprikas sauce is used with cooked salsify and mushrooms.  The shellfish-like flavor of the salsify and earthy mushrooms are nicely complimented by the paprikash sauce. 

1 pound salsify, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
¼ cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
10 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
1½ cups stock
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup yogurt
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
salt to taste

Cook cleaned salsify in salted, boiling water until tender, 15-20 minutes.  Drain.

Melt butter over medium heat in a heavy pan.  Add in the onion and sauté for 5-10 minutes or until translucent.  Add in the crimini mushrooms and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.  Add in the stock and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 10-15 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and well cooked.  Add in the garlic, paprika, and black pepper along with the yogurt.  Bring to a simmer and then sift in the flour, stirring constantly to keep the flour from becoming lumpy.   When the sauce thickens, stir in the cooked salsify.  Heat until warmed through and toss in the minced parsley.  Adjust salt to taste.  Serve warm.

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