Salsify, a staple of the Victorian dinner table, is making a comeback, it has been claimed.
The root vegetable, which was common in the 19th century but rarely seen today, is to be sold by Waitrose in 100 shops, until spring next year, the Guardian reported.
Salsify has been described as having a subtle flavour, resembling ‘a mild artichoke, perhaps with a trace of liquorice or, when cooked, some even claim to detect a hint of oysters’.
Salsify, a staple of the Victorian dinner table, is making a comeback, it has been claimed
A relatively unknown vegetable in the UK today, salsify is still popular in Europe.
It also featured in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, which was first published in 1861.
The vegetable would be available at Waitrose in the black variety.
It is grown in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, as well as white salsify which is grown in Ayrshire.
Waitrose said the revival was part of a broader trend of increasing demand for traditional foods.
What to cook with salsify
Salsify is a root vegetable – belonging to the dandelion family – that was a staple of the Victorian diet, and is generally available between October and January.
Like many root vegetables you can boil them, mash them, or use them in a stew.
A higher quality specimen will be firm and smooth, preferably with the green tops still attached.
Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall offers recipes for salsify fritters, salsify tempura with spicy dipping sauce and salsify gratin.
In a clip from his TV series The F Word, Gordon Ramsay outlines how to make crushed celeriac and roasted salsify.
He says: ‘Salsify tastes like a cross between artichoke and turnip. Don’t overcook it, is it adds great texture to the dish.’
Gordon Ramsay Restaurants offers a recipe for roasted lamb with charred calcot onions, artichokes and salsify purée.
Pictured: Salsify in blankets, a vegetable twist on the classic pigs in blankets
How to make Salsify in Blankets
Source: Great British Chefs
- Three batons of salsify
- One juiced lemon
- 30g of butter
- Five rashers of smoked streaky bacon, cut in half
Step one: Put the lemon juice into a bowl of water. Peel the salsify, slicing each baton into three pieces. Immediately place it in the lemon water to prevent discolouring.
Step two: Heat the butter in a pan and add the salsify, cooking it in the foaming butter with a pinch of salt for five minutes, or until al dente.
Baste and turn the salsify for an even gold colour. Remove and allow it to cool.
Step three: Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Step four: Once the salsify is cool enough to handle, wrap each baton in half a rasher of streaky bacon and place on a baking tray.
Oven cook the salsify in blankets for 10–15 minutes or until the bacon is crispy, and serve.