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Kohlrabi comes from the German words “kohl” (cabbage) and “rabi” (turnip). It tastes like a slightly peppery mixture of turnip and radish with a pinch of Brussels sprout. The bulbs are at their best when they’re around the size of a baseball or softball. If much bigger, they tend to have a tougher texture. I found that both light green and purple kohlrabi don’t taste dramatically different. Maybe the purple was a touch sweeter? You be the judge. How do you eat it?
Raw: The simplest choice. Simply peel the outer layer of skin off with a vegetable peeler and grate the kohlrabi raw over a salad.
Try it with a crispy lettuce like iceberg and a dressing like this:
The juice (and a few light “grates” of zest) from 2 lemons
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons canola oil
In a blender, combine lemon juice and zest, vinegar, honey and mustard. Put the mixture on low speed and pour the canola oil through the top spout in an even, steady stream.
Why canola oil and not olive? Great question. I want the lemon and honey to have room to breathe. Olive oil would take over the party in a hurry. Olive oil would also eclipse the taste of the kohlrabi.
This dressing is also good for a “spa treatment” for your vegetables. Make the vinaigrette, grate or chop the kohlrabi (radish, rutabaga or celery root work, too) and allow it to soak in this dressing in the fridge like you would soak in the hot tub. An hour or two marinating — yum. Marinades aren’t just for steaks. They are the new body-wrap for vegetables.
Another simple approach? Oven-Roasted. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Peel and cut the bulbs into thick slices and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season them with salt and pepper and dot them with butter. Pour a little orange juice into the bottom of the pan and place the tray in the center of the oven. Cook until tender, adding more orange juice if the pan is dry.
Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, shares with readers what she’s eating — whether it’s from the farmers’ market or fresh off the boat, she’ll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.