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Kohlrabi with Broccoli, Peanut and Fig
Although I was inspired by a combination I collected via Foodpairing, most pairings featured in this starter are quite well known. For example broccoli is often served with almond flakes, where the almond can be replaced by other nuts, such as hazelnut or peanut. I always use the broccoli stem as well, which reminds me of kohlrabi – so pairing broccoli and kohlrabi was straight-forward. Figs might sound a little bit strange, but I already made figs and broccoli work together previously. The dish below unites the aforementioned pairings in a vegan appetizer.
I used the broccoli in three different textures: broccoli florets steamed over fresh dill, thin raw strips from broccoli stems and creamy broccoli puree. For the broccoli puree I used rapeseed oil because it reminds me of the taste of butter, but doesn’t affect the flavor of the vegetables too much. Next to the broccoli puree I added some kohlrabi puree made with walnut oil, which has become one of my most favorite combinations recently. The florets and the raw broccoli stem strips were connected by steamed kohlrabi balls. Already the combination of these broccoli and kohlrabi elements on their own was quite fascinating, because each bite resembled a different “flavor position” on an imaginary scale between clean broccoli and clean kohlrabi flavors. This play was further enhanced by the grated hazelnut flakes and the roasted peanut crumbs. The onion marmalade served as a slightly spicy ingredient, while the warm fig-vinaigrette with its freshness helped to balance the flavors on the plate.
Peel the onion and cut into thin strips. Add to a large pot with 2-3 tbsp water and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over low heat until soft. Remove the lid and cook for 4-5 hours until it gets pale brown. Stir regularly to avoid burnt spots. If there's no liquid left under the onion, add some white wine (at total about 100ml) and water. Season the onion marmalade with salt and sugar. Chill to room temperature and refrigerate.
For the peanut powder
Peel the peanuts and remove their paper-thin brown hull. Cover a grid with parchment paper, add the peanuts on top and brown them in the oven at 200°C / 390 F. Remove from the oven and chill to room temperature. Blend or chop into crumbs. Sieve and remove the fine dust. Reserve the crumbs.
For the kohlrabi
Wash and peel the kohlrabi. Cook the skin in 250ml vegetable stock for 20 minutes, strain and reserve the cooking liquid. Using a small melon ball scoop cut half spheres from the kohlrabi and reserve. Grate the remaining kohlrabi and cook in the reserved kohlrabi stock until very soft. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid. Press out as much liquid as possible from the cooked kohlrabi. Add 1 tbsp walnut oil to the kohlrabi and blend into a fine puree, meanwhile adding reserved kohlrabi stock to get a smooth texture. Season with salt and 1-2 drops of chili oil. Press through a fine sieve and reserve.
For the broccoli
Wash the broccoli and reserve some nice florets. Cut off the remaining green florets and reserve separately. Remove the small branches from the stem and cut the thick stem into a 1-1.5cm wide brick. Using a peeler cut long thin strips from the broccoli stem. Layer all slices and wrap in clingfilm to prevent them from drying out.
Chop the remaining broccoli parts and cook in 250ml vegetable stock until soft. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid. Cook the reserved green parts of the broccoli in the broccoli stock, strain and chill in ice water to preserve its green color. Chill the cooking liquid. Strain the cooked green broccoli and blend with 1 tbsp rapeseed oil into a fine puree, meanwhile adding cold cooking liquid to get a smooth texture. Season with salt and a few drops chili oil. Press through a fine sieve and reserve.
For the fig vinaigrette
Wash and peel the figs, removing all white parts. Cut the fig into small cubes and add to a small pot with 0.5 tsp fig vinegar, a pinch of salt and 20ml dry white wine. Warm over low heat.
For the hazelnut
Using a mandoline cut the hazelnuts into very thin slices.
Season the reserved broccoli florets and kohlrabi spheres with salt. Put the fresh dill in a large pot and put a steaming basket on top. Add a cup of boiling water and add the kohlrabi and broccoli to the steaming basket. Cover and steam for 4 minutes.
Meanwhile warm 1 tbsp onion marmalade, the kohlrabi and the broccoli puree over low heat.
Add 1.5 tsp peanut crumbs on warm plates and garnish with kohlrabi spheres and broccoli florets. Add a few drops of kohlrabi and broccoli puree. Add 2-3 thin slices of raw broccoli stems, a few strips onion marmalade and 1 tsp figs. Finish with a few pinches of grated hazelnut.