Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day 'Salsify' Love

What do you make your sweetheart for Valentine's Day?

Mine is complicated. He likes obscure foods. He always has, since we got together 15 years ago. However, I like that. Because I like to experiment with flavors. It says so on my bio to the right!

The story of this dish goes...

While at the local Whole Foods store one Saturday, hubs is rummaging through vegetables and I see him asking a store employee something. I walk over to hear him asking about Salsify. She has,  no clue, he has the smart phone pulling up a pic, she is asking other employees if they know what it is. One guy points him to another similar in looks root, but it is ten times as big. But they all get no where.

I have made this dish before, written about it before. I have also read it does not taste or smell like its alternative name 'Oyster Root', but it does. You have to get it fresh. If you pick it up and it flops over or feels soft, then it is not fresh. Firm and stands like a pencil. This parsnip, potato like root does have a subtle smell and flavor of oysters. Someone might steer you the wrong way and point you to parsnips or some other 'like' root, and then it won't have the aroma.

Salsify usually comes out in February around here (maybe late summer/warm winters), one site says October to January. It comes in white (yellowish) and black, I have only seen black version, but inside resembles parsnip. Even the white version can look like parsnip, kind of. But the most important thing- it tastes similar to oysters. A mild version. Haven't had it? I encourage you to try it. I boil it in a stock (save the water), mash and chop it up; add white wine and butter, along with salt and pepper and maybe a sprinkle of garlic powder. Don't use fresh garlic or you will mask the true flavor.

If you look on the top of the turbo filet, upper corner and right hand side of picture above, that is then end result. Forget the creamed potatoes on the left; it is a pile of mess, but tasty. The whole dish was tasty. Another trip to Whole Foods and I saw they had gotten some in after our last trip.

Where does the real love come in? I hauled myself out of the house on a cold snowy day a few days later to go buy another handful of salsify so I could cook it for his Valentines Day, because he adores it. Four pieces make about 1/2 cup...not much, but a great garnish for seafood.

Happy Valentines Day Everyone! Keep spreading the food love...

PS- here is a pic from the internet

I almost forgot! The salsify water...I reuse it for sauce or gravies. You can freeze it or incorporate it into the next days meal. We are watching (always) our carb intake and such, so no extra sauce calories, because I was craving mashed potatoes this go round.