How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sputnik II

Careful readers of this space may recall my introduction to the vegetable kohlrabi (COAL-ROBBIE or COAL-RABIE) two years ago, in a post entitled Kohl-whatee?, in which I compared the German turnip (as it is also known) to the Soviet satellite that scared the Eisenhower generation into raising taxes for NASA and that was nearly as edible.

When our orbit crossed that of the cabbage's humble cousin this year, Pam went to the shelves and found two possibilities, suggesting that I choose one to prepare. The winner -- as she often is -- was Jane Brody, whose Good Food Book includes a kohlrabi salad on page 544.

NOTE: This recipe calls for two hours of chilling time.

This is quite a simple salad, which calls for 2-1/2 pounds of kohlrabi bulbs and 2 small white onions. Since I had just one medium kohlrabi (it seems like the singular should be kohlrabo -- like biscotto -- but it is not), I used just a quarter of a medium yellow onion. I chopped the onion finely and put it in a bowl and then trimmed and peeled the kohlrabi. I sliced it into 1/4-inch sticks about two inches long and put them in boiling water. The recipe calls for boiling at one minute; I accidentally left it a bit longer, but no harm was done. Since this is related to cabbage, I can imagine over-boiling would release unpleasant sulfurs. I then rinsed the kohlrabi under cool water in a sieve.

In a separate bowl, I whisked together the dressing. The original proportions are shown -- I used about half and could have done with a bit less.

1/2 c tarragon wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar and 1/2 t of dried tarragon)
1/4 c sugar
2 t sesame seeds
1/2 t minced fresh ginger (this was the exception -- I used about a teaspoon)
1/2 t hot red pepper flakes
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t salt

I tossed this together with the vegetables and then realized that the last step was to chill. We were ready for dinner when I noticed this, so we settled for 20 minutes or so. More would have been better.

Readers of this space also know that we are fans of elaborate oils and vinegars from our friends at Lebherz in Frederick, Maryland, but I used a generic wine vinegar in this case. I am looking forward to recommendations from L.O.V.E.

The intention of this recipe, is to use hot spices and cold temperatures to help the diner forget about the kohlrabi. It actually works pretty well,  and the result reminded me of a hot slaw I made a few weeks ago with actual cabbage. This was a decent side dish for our crab cake sandwiches; the pairing with a semi-sweet wine was not ideal, though I am not sure what I would recommend -- perhaps a peppery Cabernet Sauvignon will be in order next time.

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