Posted by: CJW | September 14, 2009

Kohlrabi, Two Ways (Part II)

I was a little hesitant about eating these raw. After all, “kohlrabi” apparently means “cabbage turnip”, and frankly, I can’t think of a single vegetable that would be more disgusting to eat raw than either a cabbage or a turnip… well, okay, maybe an onion… oh wait… coleslaw is raw cabbage, and I suppose I eat that occasionally… well, okay, raw turnips are still disgusting in concept!

Anyway, I got a suggestion to try them raw, based on this endorsement. The idea appealed to me nonetheless since I love raw radishes, dipped in a little salt, even more when served with toasted baguette and whipped, herbed butter, so I thought that perhaps, this might be similar in texture. But my uncertainty lingered. To settle the matter, I reserved one of three kohlrabi from our CSA share, chopped up the other two for roasting, and cut a thin slice of the last one for sampling raw to determine whether its fate would be to remain crisp in a salad or be roasted with its brethren.

The verdict should be obvious from the title of this entry. The flavor was slightly sweet and just a touch nutty, the texture crisp but firm with the little flecks of sea salt adding just the slightest hint of a complementary crunch. I sliced up the rest of that puppy (ooh– bad metaphor, sorry!) and stacked them with slices of ripe tomato. The stacks sat on beds of arugula that had all been tossed with a lemon basil vinaigrette. This was such a refreshing salad due to the contrasts in textures, colors, and flavors. The anise flavor of the basil brightened the nutty flavor of the kohlrabi; the sweet, juicy tomato rounded out the peppery arugula; the soft tomato paired with the crunch of the kohlrabi. In fact, I think John and I liked this side dish better than the roasted kohlrabi: for him, it was the flavor, but for me, it was a texture thing since the roasting seemed to toughen the skin, which admittedly, could be corrected with better trimming.

2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 kohlrabi, thinly sliced
1 bunch arugula
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade, divided
1 tsp honey
3-4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Lightly sprinkle the kohlrabi and tomato slices with sea salt and set aside. Wash and spin dry the arugula. Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Mix in half the basil. Reserve 1-2 tbsp of the dressing and use as much of the rest as you want to toss the arugula. Plate the arugula and then equally divide your tomato and kohlrabi slices in stacks between your plates. Spoon some of the reserve dressing on your tomato stacks then sprinkle with remaining basil. Best if chilled before serving.

CSA Count: 4
Kohlrabi, slicing tomatoes, arugula, basil

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