by Caroline

Every summer, we visit my parents so we can glory in East Coast summer weather, grandparental (and parental) affection, and the abundance of my father’s garden. Depending on when we arrive, we might be gorging on berries or potatoes, and this year my dad promised both, but he also offered kohlrabi, a crop he had tried for the first time. “I hope you will pack your favorite kohlrabi recipes,” he emailed me before we arrived.

Well. Favorite cookie recipes, favorite muffin recipes, sure, but I had to Google kohlrabi to even know what it looks like. I’ll save you that step:

kohlrabi growing
kohlrabi on the way to the kitchen

So, as it turns out, kohlrabi is something like a turnip and something like a radish: crunchy and refreshing, with a slightly sharp tang. It’s delicious, and pretty versatile: you can eat it raw, grated into salad (recipe below), you can cook and eat the leaves (which we did, flavored with a little soy sauce and sesame oil), you can cut it into sticks and roast them (we did that, too) or make it into a gratin (which we might do when it’s cooler). Because yes, our CSA is now bringing us kohlrabi every week, so it’s a good thing we’ve learned how to cook it, because now we’ve really learned to like it!

Raw Kohlrabi Salad

First, make your vinaigrette; I like Deborah Madison’s mustard vinaigrette, from the indispensable Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt
2 shallots, finely diced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed

Combine the vinegar, shallots, garlic and 1/4 t salt in a small bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes, then whisk in the mustard, sour cream or yogurt, and oil until thick and smooth. Grind in a little pepper, then stir in the herbs and capers. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Then, peel and grate a pound or two of fresh raw kohlrabi, or use a mix of kohlrabi, parsley root, carrots, and beets — whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. Dress with the vinaigrette and serve.