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Kohlrabi Salad with Pea Shoots
(recipe, Ivy Manning)
Kohlrabi is a member of the odiferous brassica family (a cousin of cabbage), but it has a rather benign flavor, something like a cross between green cabbage and broccoli, yet milder and crisper. This recipe — from chef Fearn Smith of Portland's Farm Café — should change your mind if you ever thought of kohlrabi as an "ick" vegetable.
- 2 large red or green kohlrabi bulbs
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 2 Tbsp. rice-wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 cups pea shoots (optional)
- With a sharp chef's knife, cut the tough outer skin and stems from the kohlrabi. Julienne the kohlrabi with a mandoline or sharp knife (you will have about 4 cups), and then julienne the carrot.
- Toast the fennel seeds in a small dry sauté pan over medium heat until they begin to brown slightly and smell toasty. Transfer them to a mortar and pestle or clean spice grinder and grind into a coarse powder.
- Combine the fennel powder, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oils. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat.
- Chop the pea shoots into 1-inch pieces and toss into the salad immediately before serving.
Kohlrabi is available almost year-round, but you'll find it most often in late spring to early summer. Small to medium kohlrabi (no bigger than a fist) have the mildest flavor. If possible, buy them with the leaves still attached, as the leaves are tasty when cooked. Don't buy kohlrabi with yellow or wilting leaves.