Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Kohlrabi Salad

So I don't really remember why we got it going, but somehow an old college roommate and I have started a little farmer's market Facebook game.  It's called "Can you guess the vegetable?".  The whole thing cracks me up because before I met this roommate, she was never into cooking.  A few lessons in our tiny apartment kitchen started what I like to think of as a deep appreciation for getting her bake on, and I'm happy to take all of the credit!

Our game goes a little something like this-

1. I visit the weekly market here in town.  I generally get inspired to take a bunch of photos while wandering from tent to tent, so I snap a few as I go.

2. I post a picture of something odd or particular to Germany and she guesses what it might be (though she has gotten it right, more times than not).

I usually get some odd looks from the Germans selling their goods when I break out the camera or my phone.  It's like they can't figure out what could be so picturesque about their crates and stacks of fruits and veggies.  Of course, to me not much (except my gorgeous kiddos) could be any prettier.  Sometimes stealth is the wisest way to get a great photo, as is the case with the lovely older lady who had no idea I was taking pictures of the gently stacked flowers in her shopping basket this morning (so pretty!).

Last week's guessing game centered around the kohlrabi.  It's a totally alien-looking veggie that I had never encountered before moving to Germany.  Though I've noticed it's growing popularity in the US.  My roomie didn't know what it was, but my awesome sister guessed it right away.  I love kohlrabi raw- it's crunchy and juicy very much like an apple but with a sweet earthy flavor reminiscent of broccoli (it's a cousin after all) and cabbage.  But it's also great tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted along with root veggies.

The conversation that ensued after  disclosing the identity of the "mystery veggie" last week inspired me to make sure I picked up some kohlrabi this week.  As I walked around the market this morning I found several farmers selling giant green heads of it so I had my pick.  Yea me!  My basket also filled up with all sorts of late winter and early spring stuff and I could absolutely feel the transition in the air.  The warm sun, the bushels of tulips, radishes, spring onions.  It was like a perfect storm of inspiration.

I could feel the hibernation of winter shaking off.  The salad that I created when I got home was only the first step.  Hopefully the next few will take me towards asparagus and strawberries.  Then on to the beautiful apricots that lead the way to everything that is delicious and wonderful about summer.  In the meantime, the leftovers of this first salad of many are waiting for me to dig into again tomorrow.


Spring Kohlrabi Salad
Serves 6 as a side dish.
For the printable recipe, click here.

This crunchy salad is more like a slaw than a traditional salad.  Lots of texture and a great balance of flavors.  The dressing is light and slightly tangy with buttermilk and lemon.  I like the nuts in the salad, but you can certainly leave them out if you have nut issues.  Today I used almonds but would have tossed in walnuts if I had them.  Both are equally delicious in the salad.  And as a bonus, this is one salad that keeps well so it's perfect to make ahead or take along to a potluck or BBQ.  One further note- kohlrabi has very thick skin so you definitely need a good sharp peeler.  It might even take two passes to get all of the skin away.

1 pound kohlrabi (1 large head), peeled and sliced thinly into matchsticks
1 medium sweet apple such as honeycrisp or pink lady, sliced thinly into matchsticks
2 or 3 radishes, diced or sliced into matchsticks
1 small spring onion or 1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tbs chopped parsley
3 tbs sliced almonds or chopped walnuts

1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp whole grain or dijon mustard

Place all the salad ingredients into a large bowl.  In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, lemon juice, honey and mustard.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently.

The salad can be kept in the refrigerator overnight in a sealed container.

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