What to Do With Kohlrabi
Katherine Knowles for the Village Voice
You've probably seen kohlrabi, sometimes known as the German turnip or even the cabbage turnip, knocking around the farmers' market for a while now. It's a storage crop, a mild brassica, harvested in fall and set aside for just such a day as this, when we're looking for a bit of crunch and freshness to liven up the almost-spring days.
"The ones we've got are pretty sweet now," says Joshua Passe, stalwart of the Wednesday Greenmarket, handing out kohlrabi slices to passersby. "You can cook them, or eat them raw. They've got a real snap to them."
They look like little pale green bowling balls or turnips, but when it comes to flavor, kohlrabi tastes much more like mild broccoli stems. It doesn't look fresh and juicy upon first glance, but it can be as crisp as any apple, making it an ideal addition to slaws and salads.
So what are you looking for when you're buying? "You want a smooth surface, with no cracks," says Passe. "They should be firm, and hard to the touch." Peel off the outer layer of skin with a vegetable peeler, and you're ready to go.
Sample this vegetable over at Reynard (80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-460-8004), which is currently matching kohlrabi to cured egg yolk, remoulade, and brown butter.
Some eating ideas:
- Slaw: grated or shredded along with fennel, cabbage, carrots, and apple. Dress with a simple mustard-y lemon vinaigrette, and let sit for a few hours to soften slightly. This is delicious with pork chops.
- Kohlrabi Apple Salad: Another slaw idea: grated or finely julienned kohlrabi and apple, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice. Top with a spoonful of fresh ricotta, a grating of fresh lemon zest, and some torn mint.
- Soup: sweat an onion, 2 cups of cubed kohlrabi, and half a cup of cubed potato until the onion is translucent. Season well. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and simmer until cooked. Blend, and add a swirl of cream to finish.
- Roasted: with cubes of squash and potato, and a sprinkle of cumin. So good with mackerel and a squeeze of lime.
- Sautéed: cubed and sautéed with a red onion until cooked through. Add a couple of handfuls of spinach and a splash of stock or cream and let the spinach wilt.
- Shaved: and mixed with slices of orange, toasted almonds, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Baked with mushrooms: thinly sliced and layered with onion and mushrooms in a baking dish. Season well. Top up with cream and bake until bubbling and cooked through.
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