I am constantly trying to come up with fresh ideas and ways to gussy up regular-old vegetables. This time of year it feels a lot harder than other times. In the summer, the garden offers such a bounty that the options seem limitless. A tomato is great on its own, but I could rattle off a dozen fancy tomato dishes, just off the top of my head. Try adding a little cream and blending into a refined soup, or stacking tomato slices with fresh basil and drizzling with a good-quality olive oil, or tossing chopped tomato and a little jalapeño with some bay scallops for a nice take on ceviche - I could go on and on.
Now, try that with a kohlrabi. Not so easy. But that’s what I’ve got to work with this time of year - kohlrabi, and a few other roots and shoots.
Years ago, when I was working in the test kitchens of Gourmet, Shelley came up with a great recipe for a roasted beet carpaccio - we still serve it at the school! It is an upscale, vegetarian take on a dish that was refined in the first place. Just the sort of inspiration we need this time of year when we’re dealing with stuff like kohlrabi. -Ian
Kohlrabi, Turnip, Radish Carpaccio
Serves 4 as a first course
1 large green kohlrabi, peeled
1 medium Japanese turnip, peeled
1 medium watermelon radish, peeled
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
Using a slicer, cut the kohlrabi, turnip, and radish into paper thin slices. Lay the slices on a serving platter. Scatter the cilantro leaves over the slices, then drizzle with the lemon juice and the oil.. Sprinkle the peppercorns and a large pinch of salt over the dish and serve.