Baking in salt-crust is a technique usually applied to fish, meat, potatoes, beets and sometimes celery roots. In fact, a lot more vegetables can be covered in coarse sea salt and baked in the oven, where the salt-crust not only seasons the vegetable, but also keeps all the flavors inside. This time I experimented with salt-baked kohlrabi, which developed into a magnificent result.
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.
It was a long and winding road until the golden beetroot finally made it to my kitchen. I first encountered yellow beets on a photo in the German food magazine Der Feinschmecker. Later on, in 2009 I got my hands on a copy of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Cookbook. It included a very simple yet funny recipe featuring orange and beetroot jelly only (see a photo here). The joke in this dish was that the flavors are swapped: the red jelly is made of blood orange juice and the yellow one using golden beets. I appreciate culinary surprises like this, because the twist and the surprise naturally forces the diner to focus more on the flavor. Among other things, this was also a reason why I began to look for golden beets. Unfortunately, the search took me 3 years, but I finally received 3 exemplars.
Did you like kohlrabi as a child? Me neither. It’s strange that with increasing age some ingredients I used to push aside on my plate, I’m now becoming a fan of. This is the case for example with brussel sprouts or kohlrabi (though with pattypan squash I still can’t get along). One of the secrets for good kohlrabi is to use only young produce and trim all potential woody parts from its bottom. Even raw it tastes great with its sweet flavor. Beyond cooking you can also grill, roast or sauté kohlrabi, although I recommend to cook them first, otherwise the center will remain raw. Precooked kohlrabi sticks are also great for salad, e.g. with this mustard seed and caper-vinaigrette. Both the seeds and the capers have a nice mustard taste, which pairs really well with the slight sweetness of the kohlrabi.