Monday, 28 June 2010

Kohlrabi, and how not to cook it

Kohlrabi appeared in my vegetable box this week (photograph courtesy of Lisa Norwood). I'm not familiar with this vegetable - in fact, it's the first time I've seen it. Jane Grigson doesn't think much of it, writing:

"There are better vegetables than kohlrabi. And worse. I am thinking in particular of winter turnip and swede; certainly kohlrabi is a pleasant alternative to that grim pair. It is not a true turnip, but a cabbage with its stem swollen into a turnip shape, a cabbage-turnip, by analogy with the French céleri-rave, celery turnip, our celeriac. We have adopted rather than translated the German name, which indicates a lack of warmth on our part [...]"

Fortunately Luisa, over at The Wednesday Chef, has warmer feelings for this vegetable. She gives a great recipe for a raw kohlrabi and carrot salad dressed with toasted fennel seeds, sesame oil, and chilli. My version didn't have such neat julienne as Luisa's, as I just pushed the vegetables through the fine grater of the Magimix. I substituted white wine vinegar for the rice wine vinegar she calls for, and used a milder chilli than birds eye. Even with these adaptations, it was a very tasty and refreshing salad. Perhaps if Grigson had come across this recipe, she would also have developed some warmth for this interesting vegetable.

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