Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday: Kohlrabi-slaw

Kohlrabi-carrot slaw with baked tofu.

Since it consists of shredded carrots, kohlrabi, and vinegar, plus the flavors of anise seed and dill, this dish bears a resemblance to cole slaw. It's no coincidence that "kohl" sounds like "cole" - both those prefixes derive from the German word for cabbage. (The "slaw" part is derived from the word for "salad," which is itself actually derived from the word "salt" - making "cole slaw" "salty cabbage salad.")

As for kohlrabi, it's a cruciferous vegetable which grows a bulbous enlarged above-ground stem. The leaves are edible if you happen to find them in good shape, but they don't keep well. The kohlrabi "bulb" itself has a fibrous outer layer that varies in thickness, so it's not enough just to peel off the skin - you have to be sure to cut down deep enough to remove the portion with an unpleasant grain. The soft interior is greenish-white in color, and has a consistency similar to broccoli stems, with a fresh, slightly green, crisp taste.

Kohlrabi tastes pleasant raw and is a good fresh green vegetable in the winter months; it can also be braised or used in soups, where it reaches a softer, smooth consistency.

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