Since first discovering the muddy sticks, that are, salsify, I get very excited for its annual season, which appears to have overrun the winter season this year (I am not complaining).
I ordered 2 lots of 400g to come alongside my organic veg box last week. I made a lighter version of my salsify fritters with one bunch but wanted to do something different with the rest.
I didn’t want to simply steam it, roast it or braise it – as delicious as they are – I wanted to do something special with my once a year salsify.
I decided to use up a few lurking potatoes and an onion to make a rich, buttery (despite no butter), peppery gratin. It is comforting, flavour packed and melts in the mouth. The trick is low and slow cooking here.
Ingredients: Serves 4 as a side dish
- 500g potatoes
- 400g black salsify
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 200ml soya cream
- 200ml almond milk
- 15g vegan spread
- If your salsify is still muddy, soak it in warm water in the sink to soften the mud then scrub well. Top and tail and cut into lengths about 10cm/4 inches. Place in a pan of boiling water and boil for about 10-15 minutes until tender enough to be pierced with a knife.
- Drain and cool under cold water. Squeeze and rub the skins of, use the back of a knife to scrape any tough bits. Halve down the length and set aside.
- Slice your potatoes wafer thin, a mandolin would be useful here. Do the same with the onion.
- Preheat the oven to 180’c/350’f. Melt the spread in a medium pan and add the crushed garlic over a low heat and saute for about a minute until fragrant. Add the cream, milk, salt, pepper and rub in the thyme through your fingers. Stir and leave on a low heat whilst you layer the gratin.
- Layer starting with a third of the potatoes, third of the onion and then a third of the salsify with a grinding of black pepper between each layer and repeat until all used up. Give the cream a final stir and pour over the vegetables.
- Place on a baking tray in the oven and bake for anywhere between 1 – 1 1/2 hours depending on the thickness of your vegetables. The gratin should be dark amber and should give easily when pierced with a knife.
- Serve as an accompaniment to a seitan roast and veggies or just scoop into warm bowls.
Low in saturated fat
High in dietary fiber
Very high in vitamin B6
Very high in vitamin C