Friday, June 26, 2009

Skaneateles' Greener Bean and Kolhrabi Gratin

After spending Friday night in Owego, NY, I spent last Saturday in Skaneateles (pronounced "skinny-atlas"). Near Syracuse, and on the tip of one of the Finger Lakes, it's quite a charming town. But it rained buckets the whole time I was there. Undaunted, I made my way to the local P&C supermarket, which hosts The Greener Bean farmers market on Saturday mornings. The market, which is certified organic, was small, and by the time I arrived, only three farmers were braving the morning monsoon. However, everyone was super friendly and proud to show off their wares, be it spinach, heirloom tomato plants (some of which are now living in my fire escape container garden - we'll see how that goes), beets or kolhrabi. I had never tried kolhrabi, and was intrigued. And they were a lovely purple shade, my favorite color, so of course I had to buy a bunch. Although the farmer provided a recipe identical to this one, there were really no instructions about how to prepare the kolhrabi for cooking, so I learned as I went along.

And I learned that kolhrabi is a *pain* to peel. After failing with the veggie peeler, I had to use a pairing knife, and then a serrated knife to saw through the stalks and fibrous core. The raw kolhrabi had a nice taste, kind of like a milder form of radish (although some describe the taste more like broccoli stem).

After slicing into thin half moons, I slow braised the kolhrabi in half-and-half in the oven for about 90 minutes before mixing with salt, pepper, Gruyere and Parmesan. And in the end? Well, it looked and tasted exactly like scalloped potatoes.

And given the effort required to hack through the kolhrabi versus what it would have taken to slice a few potatoes, am not sure I'll be making that recipe again.

The next day, I steamed the kolhrabi greens and sauteed with garlic in sesame oil (it paired nicely with grilled salmon).

So maybe I will try kolhrabi again -- but only if I can find it, and only if I can find someone else to peel it!

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