As salsify makes a comeback, here’s how you can cook with it
It might sound more like a process you learned about in Chemistry GCSE, but salsify is actually a vegetable.
Waitrose is making a bid for this to be the hot new root veg on the scene, as it is now selling salsify in 100 of its stores with the help of supplier Albert Bartlett and Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr.
Chances are, not many of us have had the opportunity to try this unusual ingredient, but it was actually hugely popular in the Victorian era because it grows well all year round and is hugely versatile to cook with.
What exactly is it?
Salsify is a root veg and looks similar to a parsnip when peeled, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the same thing. This plant actually comes from the dandelion family, and there are two varieties: Black and white. The black one tends to be favoured because it’s a bit fleshier and easier to peel.
Waitrose is selling the root in both varieties, and you can also eat its delicate purple flowers.
Even though it was favoured by all kinds of people in the 1800s, nowadays you’re more likely to see it on fancy tasting menus. Also, FYI – it’s pronounced ‘sal-si-fee’. You don’t want to embarrass yourself at the dinner table, now do you?
What does it taste like?
Salsify is nicknamed the “oyster plant” because it has an oyster-like taste. However, it doesn’t quite stop there. Albert Bartlett describes it as like a “mild artichoke with a trace of liquorice”.
This might sound strong, but don’t be deterred. In fact, both varieties of salsify are pretty mild in flavour, making for the perfect side dish.
Fun fact: black salsify contains as much potassium as bananas. It’s also rich in protein, iron and copper, so has plenty of health benefits.
How should you cook it?
If you’re feeling traditional, you can follow the recipe from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management – first published in 1861, this was basically a Victorian housewife’s Bible. She writes: “Scrape and wash the salsify, cut them into small evensized pieces, throw them into boiling water, and add a little butter, lemon juice, and salt. Boil gently until tender, and then drain well.
“Heat up in a little well-seasoned good white sauce. Have the pastrycases ready, fill them with the preparation, re-heat, and serve.”
Because it has a mild taste, salsify is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. If you’re looking to update your Sunday lunch, sub out those parsnips or cauliflower for salsify, to really surprise your guests.
Pair it with other root vegetables for a gratin (we like this recipe from Pham Fatale because it includes an apple alongside salsify and potatoes), use it for a creamy mash, or it can be the base for a warming autumnal soup. Top tip – steam instead of boil the veg, to ensure it doesn’t go mushy.
Unlike many other root vegetables, salsify can actually be eaten raw – we recommend adding it into your favourite coleslaw recipe to make the most of its crunch.
You can buy 350g packs of salsify from selected Waitrose stores for £2.99.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- 6 of the weirdest flavour combinations supermarkets are trying for Christmas - December 13, 2018
- How to make Gaz Oakley’s vegan jaffa cakes - December 12, 2018
- This is how men and women experience heart attacks differently - December 11, 2018
- What cooking ingredients can you actually scrimp on? - December 10, 2018
- Uterine cancer is on the rise – do you know the symptoms to look out for? - December 7, 2018
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!