5 Questions with Our Guest Chef Jeremy Sewall

Chef Jeremy Sewall Lo Resolution

Chef Jeremy Sewall is an acclaimed Boston chef, restaurateur and seafood authority. Chef Sewall is the author of the James Beard nominated cookbook “The New England Kitchen: Fresh Take on Seasonal Recipes” and the chef/owner of Lineage in Brookline, MA, Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston and its sister restaurant Row 34.

Chef Sewall has contributed three delicious recipes for upcoming Just Add Cooking boxes. Before you cook, get inspired with some tips from Chef Sewall himself.

Your career, while global, has focused on fresh, local, farm-to-table food. What inspired this focus?

Food rarely benefits from travel. I have a romantic idea of food in my head; about only cooking and eating fresh caught fish and freshly picked produce. That is what inspires me in both my cooking and how I design a menu. I try to keep my focus on utilizing what is local and freshest to me. 

bacon_wrapped_monkfish_with_sunchokesYour recipes, both in your restaurants and cookbook, utilize a lot of local fish that some of us may not normally think to cook with. Two great examples are the monkfish and mackerel featured in your Just Add Cooking recipes. What local seafood do you think New Englanders often overlook, and what are your tips for cooking confidently with them?

I think most New Englanders focus on the old standbys, cod, haddock, lobster and familiar species like those. New England waters have so much more to offer like monkfish, mackerel, bluefish, hake, redfish and countless shellfish. Don’t be afraid to try new things, the confidence comes with repetition of cooking these over and over.

We’re headed into the warm weather in Boston and many of us will be seeing produce we’re unfamiliar with at the farmer’s market. What’s one “can’t miss” under-appreciated local item, and what’s your favorite way to prepare it? 

There is not only one thing that you can’t miss. There are so many things that everyone should try. I think some of the different greens and root crops get passed over some times. I always encourage people to buy one thing weekly that they have never tried before and this will give them new favorites that they will look forward to. When preparing new things I start with simple recipes, make sure you are really highlighting the ingredient. 

roasted_cauliflower_soup

What’s your personal favorite dish, whether in the cookbook, your restaurants or simply something you cook for your family at home?

I don’t have one favorite recipe or dish. If I am cooking in the restaurants it is different then cooking at home. Cooking at home for my family, is always fun because it can be communal and simple. It’s as much about the time together as it is the food in front of us. Cooking in the restaurants I am inspired by the season, what’s new and what’s next.

Our customers are not professional chefs. What’s your best advice to someone who’s feeling a little intimidated cooking the recipes of an award-winning chef?

Don’t be intimidated, it’s just food. Enjoy the process as much as the result.

Want to give Chef Sewall’s recipes a try? They are available for delivery starting Sunday, April 24th, so order now to choose them for your box!

Defining “Free Range” and “Cage Free” Eggs

ratatouille_eggs

Pick up any carton of eggs and you’re likely to see a plethora of ‘buzz’ words on them, all designed to catch your attention and entice you to buy them. Words like ‘cage free’ and ‘free range’ and ‘vegetarian diet’ and even ‘omega 3’ all swim in front of your eyes. What do they all mean? Is one better than the other? Are they gimmicks or do they have validity?

Cage free means that the chickens were not kept in cases or cages. Usually, however, they are still confined in a building in very close quarters with very little room to move and little or no access to outdoors. When we think ‘cage free’ often we picture happy chickens roaming around the barnyard.

When we think ‘free range’, we might imagine chickens roaming the countryside. In fact, free range is not quite as free as one would like to think. The term ‘free range’ means that the chickens were allowed access to the outside. It does not specify for how long or what the quality of the ‘outside access’ is. It could literally mean that a door at the end of the building which houses the chickens is left open which, technically, could provide ‘outside access’.

Vegetarian diet and grain fed are relatively the same term. Vegetarian diet sounds great and healthy even. Fresh vegetables and fruits galore. It’s terrific, with one, tiny little caveat. Chickens are carnivores. They like to eat insects. Have you ever watched a chicken roam around on a farm? Or perhaps in your neighbor’s back yard? They hunt and peck and scratch. They are looking for juicy little morsels of buggy goodness. A chicken raised on a vegetarian diet is likely being fed industrialized grain (with a high probability of said feed being GMO) and never allowed outside.

Omega 3 eggs come from hens whose diet includes flax seed or fish oil. While omega 3 fatty acids can play an important role in a healthy diet, they can be easily found in their natural sources (flax seeds, fatty fish, walnuts) and it is not necessary to consume ‘omega 3 eggs’. Also, as with the vegetarian diet fed chickens, it is highly likely that they are never allowed outside and are kept in cramped quarters.

Pasture raised means that the chickens are raised outside, in a pasture. In their natural habitat, if you will. They have free access to roam at will, consume all of the lovely insects they would like and have access to shelter (usually a barn or hen house). Some pasture raised hens are fed a supplemental grain diet as well.

Some of the USDA regulations seem to be loosely interpreted by the egg industry as a marketing ploy in an effort to entice consumers to purchase their product (eggs). Cage free and free range sound great until you read the USDA guidelines and realize that it doesn’t quiet mean what the advertising implies it is. So which is best? Well, it is a matter of what is important to you. If you are like me, you would like to know that your chickens were treated with care, allowed free access to a barnyard filled with delicious insects and gorged themselves silly on them.

 

Oh give me a home, where the chickens do roam….

 

 

 

 

Tips for Ingredient Substitutes and Swaps

24933729 ingredients to make a coleslaw salad

It’s a common dilemma: you’re halfway through a recipe when you realize you don’t have one of the ingredients on hand. Or, an allergy or dietary preference prohibits you from using it. Can this recipe be saved?

It sure can! Recipes are great guidelines. They offer an overall picture of what the finished dish will look and taste like. While they provide a certain structure, they can also be played with, modified, tweaked or customized to fit your own personal tastes and dietary habits. Nothing is gospel or written in stone. The world of baking is more precise and certain ingredient combinations produce chemical reactions necessary for the particular application, but in general, you can play with your food.

Making substitutions involves a certain amount of creativity and experimentation and that, at least for me, is where the fun is. I can already hear some of you saying “Maybe for you it’s fun. I just want to know what I can do when I am making pancakes on Sunday morning and the recipe calls for buttermilk and I don’t have any!” Turns out, there are a few things you can do. Let’s take a look:

Substitutions for Buttermilk, Sour Cream or Yogurt: These items are all interchangeable. They have the same basic sour or acidic properties and will produce similar results. You can substitute measure for measure sour cream and yogurt for each other. For instance, if you are making a dip or are adding it to a cake recipe, either will work. If a recipe calls for buttermilk and you have sour cream or yogurt you can use either, thinned with a bit of milk or water. You can also use plain milk with 1 Tbsp (for every 8oz) of lemon juice or vinegar added to it.

Substitutions for Natural Sweeteners vs. Refined Sugars or Sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, maple sugar and date sugar are great alternatives to refined white sugar. An easy rule of thumb when using natural sweeteners as replacements is to reduce the quantity by one quarter to one third. For instance, if a recipe calls for one cup of sugar, you can replace it with 2/3 – ¾ cup of natural sweetener. Because natural sweeteners are less processed, their flavor is more pronounced, therefore less is required.

Liquids: this can be a much more subjective category and has a few different sub-texts. Let’s start with alcohol (wine, for instance). In most dishes, wine or beer or liquor is used to enhance the flavor. The alcohol is generally cooked off, intensifying the flavors and reducing the liquid. In most cases another liquid such as stock or water can be substituted. Some of the exceptions are dishes that include alcohol as a main component such as Boeuf Bourguignon, a traditional French beef stew incorporating Burgundy wine or Bananas Foster or Flambe in which rum or brandy is added to the bananas and the dish is lit on fire to cook off the alcohol (and produce quite a tableside show!).

Water and stock can be used or substituted interchangeably. If you are making a soup and have no stock in your pantry or freezer, you can easily use water instead with attention paid to the required adjustments in seasonings.

Substitutions for Dairy items (milk, cream, or half and half): Can be replaced with non-dairy liquids (rice, almond, coconut or soy milk) in most cases, however the results will vary. This is more of a ‘grey’ or ‘experimentation’ area for most folks. The flavors, textures and structures of sauces, soups and baked goods will vary slightly. Whole milk can be replaced with lower-fat milk versions with slight differences in taste and texture. The same can be said for half and half (which is a combination of whole milk and heavy cream in equal quantities – thus ‘half and half’).

Heavy cream is an entity of its own. Its high fat content make it a luxurious, creamy addition to sauces, soups, baked goods and other dishes. Heavy cream will hold over high heat (boiling, for instance) without curdling, whereas milk has a much lower scalding or curdling point. Half and half and whole milk can be used in place of heavy cream in many instances (soups, sauces, baked goods). When making custard or ice cream, it is the higher fat content of the heavy cream that produces the unctuous texture and structure of the dish, therefore substitutions are discouraged.

Substitutions for Eggs: in baked goods, there are several different ways to make substitutions for eggs. One way is to use 1 tbsp of ground flax seed plus 3 tbsp of water (mix together until gelatinous) for every 1 egg. Other alternatives are half of a ripe banana or ¼ cup of applesauce for an egg. The eggs provide structure, fat and leavening and while the substitutions may not replicate the qualities of the egg exactly, they will produce good results and definitely do in a pinch.

There are myriad other items that are replaceable or can be omitted entirely in dishes. If you are making a stir-fry, for instance, that calls for mushrooms and you do not care for them, they are easily substituted with a vegetable you do like. Again, the exception would be a dish that uses the ingredient as a main component, such as a mushroom soup or stuffed mushrooms. At that point, better to move on to a different recipe. It really is all up to you.

- Chef Holly Pierce

How to Tell When Food is “Done”

flank_steak_and_cheddar_grits_wide_small

We’ve followed the recipe, made sure we diced and chopped and stirred and prepared to the exact specifications in the directions. We’re ready to apply some heat and get things cranked up. We sear, we roast, we braise, we saute and we consult our directions to find out at which point we stop cooking and start eating. And there it is, the mother of all ambiguous instructions, ‘cook until done’.

Cook until done?! We look in the pan and that pork chop is staring back at us. And it’s not giving up any secrets. In fact, we could swear it is taunting us, ‘Do I look done?’ it says. We poke it, we prod it, we may even cut into it – a few times during the cooking process – and still we are left with uncertainty. Is it done?

Search the internet and you will find a slew of blogs, charts, websites and articles all offering up information on ‘how to tell when it’s done’. Everything from the hand test to calculating thickness or pounds to determine length of cooking time and a host of other (some questionably reliable) ways in between. Most of this information is formulated to test the doneness of animal proteins (beef, poultry, pork, fish, etc). This is because the USDA has determined that in order to kill bacteria that meats harbor (which could cause sickness in humans), they must be cooked to a certain ‘doneness’ or internal temperature.

‘Doneness’ relies on a few factors and the most reliable way to determine the doneness or internal temperature of a piece of steak or a roast chicken is with an instant read thermometer. This handy little device is an almost foolproof way to ensure meats and fish are cooked to the perfect degree of juicy tastiness. It is a terrific and inexpensive investment, about $6 for the standard dial-type and $10-15 for a digital, which can take the angst out of the ‘Is it done yet?’ part of dinner. The chart below is a great primer for different types of meats and their internal done cooking temperature.

doneness-temperature-for-meat-chicken-fish-610x394

There are also some reliable methods of determining when meat is done if you do not own or do not care to own an instant read thermometer. For whole chickens or turkeys, the rule of thumb is 20 minutes of cooking time per pound of meat at 350 degrees. So for a 4 pound chicken it would take 80 minutes or about one and a quarter hours to cook. Before taking it out of the oven, pierce the thigh of the chicken with the tip of a knife or a sharp pronged fork; if the juices run clear (instead of cloudy or bloody) the bird is done. The same rule can be applied to beef and pork roasts, with the exception of beef tenderloin. The tenderloin is a very lean cut and therefore will dry out very quickly when cooked for a long period of time. Cook it at a higher temperature, 425 degrees, for about 12 minutes per pound.

When frying or broiling a steak or chop (beef, pork, lamb), use the thickness as a guideline. For 1 to 1-1/2” thick steaks or chops, cook for 8-10 minutes per side. The less time, the rarer the meat. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can follow the same thickness rule. For cuts that are 2” thick or more, cook 12-15 minutes per side (for medium).

Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork and is opaque throughout. Cooking time depends on the thickness or weight of the piece of fish. For the average ¾” – 1” fillet, cooking time is 4-5 minutes per side if fried/sauteed or 6 minutes per pound if baked or roasted (whole or fillet). Shrimp is done when it turns bright pink on each side, depending on the size, about 2-4 minutes per side. Clams and mussels are done as soon as they open. If they do not open after cooking, toss them!

Whichever method you choose to use to test the doneness, you can be sure that we will provide instructions and information that is as detailed and easy to follow as possible. So that when you look at that pork chop in the pan, you know it will be smiling back at you saying “I’m ready”.

New Year’s Appetizer Recipe: Salmon Tartar

Look for something special to prepare for New Year’s Eve? Whether you’re hosting a cocktail party or cuddling up at home, this festive and elegant recipe is sure to fancy up your evening. It’s a family tradition for us to serve this on New Year’s Eve, and we hope you’ll try it at your celebration too!

Salmon Tartar

Serves 4 as an appetizer

salmon tartar

Ingredients

  • 2 oz smoked salmon
  • 4 oz raw salmon
  • 1 tbsb freshly grounded horse radish
  • 1 small bunch chives
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • salmon roe (this is optional)
  • 1 small baguette

Instructions

  1. Toast pine nuts in a pan over medium heat until they start to get some color. Remove from pan and let cool.
  2. Cut smoked and raw salmon into tiny pieces.
  3. Slice the chives.
  4. Slice and toast baguette in a toaster or oven.
  5. In a bowl mix salmon, horse radish, chives, pine nuts and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve in glasses or on top of the baguette and top with salmon roe.

Happy New Year!

Livin’ La Vida Locavore

newbox

In today’s food and culinary culture, there are a lot of buzz words bandied about–so many it can be downright dizzying. One you may have heard, especially if you are a patron of your local farmers market, is locavore. Although it sounds a bit like a type of rail transport, it is actually a word used to describe a person who eats food grown locally, generally within a 100 mile radius. This loose definition most often refers to produce (fruits and vegetables) although it can include meats and dairy products.

Eating locally is not a new concept. For centuries it was the only concept. What one needed to eat one grew, hunted or harvested oneself. In communities goods were traded and shared. By the mid-1800’s with the advent of the US railway, it became possible to transport agriculture within the US and then internationally. We now live in an age where taking a trip to the supermarket is like visiting the United Nations. Our food is trucked, shipped and flown in from all corners of the world.

While finding exotic fruits and vegetables at the supermarket is fun and having access to strawberries year-round is a nice convenience, eating locally and in-season provides us with an array of foods that are fresher, tastier and more economically sound. Foods that are locally grown or produced are generally minimally processed and harvested within a few days or hours of selling or packaging (meats, dairy products, cheeses, etc).

Eating local makes sense for many reasons. It has the power to boost the local economy by keeping dollars in the community and providing employment opportunities. It helps to reduce our carbon footprint by keeping the transport to a minimum. It allows us to connect with the people who grow our food, and provides occasions for us to meet and talk with them and learn about their farming practices. It enables us to take control of our health and well-being through conscious choice and selection. And it just feels – and tastes – good.

According to the 2015 Locavore Index, which culls information from all 50 states in regards to consumers’ commitment to eat local food, Massachusetts ranks in the top 5. That means that a large percentage of people in Massachusetts consistently choose to shop at local farmers markets and farm stands, cultivate a back or front yard garden or are a member of a community garden, participate in community supported agriculture (CSA) or patronize companies or services (like Just Add Cooking) that engage local farms and purveyors.

That’s pretty great. And Just Add Cooking is proud to be a part of that by committing to source our ingredients from local farms, vendors and purveyors. Want to learn more about our local philosophy? Check out some of our featured vendors here, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the scoop on the local ingredients we’re featuring each week!

 

 

The Other “Whole Foods”

Chef Holly Pierce is back this week with an education on the term “whole foods” – and what it means to eat them.

4885162 fruit and vegetable market

When we hear someone say the words ‘whole foods’ often we immediately think of the grocery store chain that has been steadily rising in popularity (and numbers) since its inception in the 1980’s. Indeed, the original Whole Foods Market was conceived in order to “provide a more natural alternative to what the food supply was typically offering at the time” in part by offering local, natural and organic whole foods. They have since expanded their repertoire and offer many different types of food items, some of which are considered ‘whole’.

So what exactly is a whole food? An amalgamation of definitions from Webster’s, Wikipidea and Dictionary.com describes a whole food (or whole foods) as: food that has been minimally processed or refined and contains no additives or artificial substances; food in its whole form. Fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, dairy items, eggs, beans and unrefined grains (rice, oats, barley, etc) are all examples of whole foods. A rule of thumb has been that whole foods can be found in the perimeter aisles of the grocery store, in the produces, dairy, meat and fish and bakery sections. While this is true to a certain degree, not all foods in those sections are free from additives or artificial substances. This is where things start to get confusing. Let’s start with processing.

Processing is a term used to describe the course of action taken starting with the raw ingredient (beets for example) to the end product (let’s say pickled). The more steps and additives involved, the more processed the food is. In this case, the beets would be minimally processed as they involve only few other natural ingredients (sugar, vinegar, salt) and one step to pickle them. Most processed foods (think any items in a box, can or sealed bag) contain additives and preservatives in order to keep them shelf-stable and prolong their life. Some common additives include nitrates or nitrites, BHA and BHT, artificial colorings and flavorings, high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils. Meats and dairy can also contain preservatives and additives (such as hormones and antibiotics).

How do we recognize whole foods? One sure-fire way is to choose foods that are in their most natural form and read the label if it comes in a package. Yes, whole foods can come in packages. Frozen fruits and vegetables, for example, are whole foods (provided the only ingredient in the package is said fruit or vegetable). A loaf of bread is a whole food. Ideally, bread has about 3 ingredients; flour, yeast and water. If the label on your loaf of bread has more than say, 5 ingredients and some of those you either do not recognize or cannot pronounce, set it back on the shelf and look for another one. Other examples of whole foods in a package are grains (rice, pasta, oats, etc), beans, vegetables, and sauces.

Great places to find whole foods are your local farm stand, farmers market/CSA share or co-op. Buy your baked goods from a local, scratch-made bakery or if you are feeling really adventurous, make them yourself! Ask your local butcher where their meat is sourced from, how it is treated while it is alive and how it is processed afterward.

Another great place to find whole foods is in your weekly delivery box from Just Add Cooking. We source the freshest and most natural ingredients we can find so that what ends up on your dinner table is healthy, whole and delicious.

The basic message about eating whole foods is to help us pay attention to what we are eating and choose the most healthful, nutrient dense, natural foods. The goal is to have a balance of foods which nurture and nourish us, body and soul. An apple is a whole food. An apple turned into an apple crisp is a whole food as well. See? Balance.

All About Halloumi Cheese

sesame_halloumi_with_lentils_wide

Halloumi (pronounced ha-LOO-mee) is a firm, salty white cheese traditionally made from sheep and goat milk. More recently, cow’s milk is also used in the production. It has a distinctive layered texture, similar to fresh mozzarella or feta, and is brined which lends to its salty flavor.

Born in Cypress somewhere between 395 – 1190 AD, Halloumi has some deep roots. Originally created by the Greek population of Cypress, it spread throughout the Middle East and is now gaining notoriety in the US. It is an integral part of a Cypress meze, often served with a cold beer. Traditionally it is eaten during warmer months with watermelon, the sweetness of which plays against the saltiness of the cheese.

One of the interesting features of halloumi is that it holds up well either grilling or frying, retaining its shape. When cooked, halloumi loses its saltiness and becomes creamy. It pairs well with a variety of foods and cuisines. Uncooked, its salty flavor and firm texture is a great foil for sweet flavors like melons, dates, figs, or tomatoes to name a few.

Top salads with slices of grilled halloumi or serve thick, pan-seared slices alongside a vegetarian curry. Top a burger with a few slices or add some to an omelet. Halloumi does not melt, and therefore offers a nice, firm bite to the tooth. A terrific, simple preparation is to heat some olive oil in a skillet, add cubes of halloumi and cook until beginning to color, shaking the pan as you go. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a crushed clove of garlic and continue to cook until the halloumi cubes are golden brown. Toss in a handful of fresh parsley and serve with olives, roasted peppers, a squeeze of lemon and your favorite crusty bread. Add a glass of chilled, sparkling white or rose and presto, instant meze!

This week we’re pairing thick slices of grilled or fried halloumi with savory lentils in our Sesame Halloumi with Lentils and a creamy, refreshing cucumber salad and topping it off with the nutty crunch of sesame seeds. The contrasting textures and flavors are like sparklers for your tastebuds!

Take some halloumi out for a test spin and amp up your culinary chops!

The Bacon Buzz: Facts around the WHO study

The World Health Organization lit up the culinary world last month when it published its study linking cancer to the consumption of red and processed meats, comparing their carcinogenic effect to tobacco and asbestos.

As one can imagine, this ignited a huge proverbial fire in the kitchens of chefs and home cooks around the world. According to the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), processed meats such as sausage, bacon and ham are classified as ‘Group 1’ carcinogens which, upon consumption, cause cancer. Response to the study has been immense and runs the gamut of emotions, opinions and invectives. The WHO, since publishing the study, has issued statements amending and explaining the findings.

Several other organizations and individuals have also commented on the study, providing detailed information about the findings. A fair amount of crucial information was overlooked in the WHO study by the outlets who published it (for example: in order to increase the risk of colon cancer by 18%, one would have to eat about 5 slices of bacon daily over the course of a lifetime). Many other similar examples point to the idea that perhaps this study, with the potential to be viewed as inflammatory, has been sensationalized so that the facts have become obscured.

The overall message of the study, if taken in context, is that the additives used in the process of curing the meats (notably nitrates and nitrites) are generally carcinogenic and increase the risk of cancer.

What does it all really mean? Especially for those of us who enjoy bacon and eggs in the morning, a ham sandwich, pepperoni on our pizza and a great steak every now and then? As with most things, moderation and balance play a great role in overall health and well-being. In this instance, choosing to buy natural, locally produced meats is a step in the right direction. Look for packages of bacon or ham that are labeled “uncured” or “nitrate/nitrite free”. This is something that the WHO study insomuch as I am able to understand their findings, did not take into consideration, nor was it offered as an alternative. In our growing, food-savvy culture, it just makes sense to know what goes into what we are eating.

chickenroastedvegetablesandtomatosauce_wide

This hub-bub around the WHO study can be a reminder or a wake-up call to be more diligent in knowing where our food comes from and to ask questions. Often the flashy headlines are no more than an attempt to stir the pot. It is up to us to dig deeper and read between the lines. So go ahead and enjoy the bacon in this week’s Chicken and Roasted Vegetables, we’ve done our homework.

Cooking with Salsify

Chef Holly Pierce of The Soul Chef breaks down the mystery behind salsify, a root vegetable featured in Just Add Cooking’s Drumsticks with Salsify Fritters Recipe.

You may be unpacking your delivery box or your farmers market share one week and find a long, skinny, light or dark brown tube-like vegetable which is not winning any awards on the ‘best looking’ scale and wonder what the heck it is. Moreover, how does one cook it and can this possibly taste good? Well, the answers in short order are: the root vegetable is called salsify, there are myriad ways to prepare it and yes, it is very tasty. In fact, in this week’s box salsify features prominently in our Drumsticks and Salsify Fritters recipe!

Salsa-what? Indeed. Salsify (pronounced ‘SAL-seh-fee’) a delicious root vegetable once widely used in Europe and the United States before fading into relative obscurity, is gaining notoriety again. The plant, also called Purple Goat’s Beard and the ‘oyster plant’ (presumably because its taste is reminiscent of an oyster, although this is debatable) has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes throughout the ages.

Photo Credit: BBC

Photo Credit: BBC

There are two different varieties, white and black salsify. The white is more of a light brown and has a taste some people liken to asparagus or artichoke hearts while the black is said to have a mild oyster flavor. The flesh in both white and black salsify is creamy white, similar to a parsnip or turnip and both varieties require a good scrub before being used. There are a few schools of thought on the peeling before or after they are cooked. As the saying goes, it is six of one, half a dozen of the other. If you go the peeled before route, a standard vegetable peeler will do the trick. You can then slice or chop the peeled roots as you like. If you intend to cook them whole, you can leave them unpeeled and then rub the peels off when they are cooked. This works well if you plan to mash them.

Some ideas for using salsify: peel and slice it into rounds, steam it until just tender then saute in a bit of butter (or if you’re feeling really bold, some bacon fat) for a simple side dish. It is wonderful mashed as a stand-in for potatoes, grated into fritters or latkes and is a terrific addition to soups and stews (peel and slice the same way you would a carrot or parsnip). It pairs well with all kinds of meats and is a satisfying addition to vegetarian dishes.

You’ll find salsify at your local farmers market and in some grocery stores in the spring and fall. Look for firm roots and store them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a week.

I encourage you to be adventurous and give it a try! It is delectable and a wonderful new flavor profile to introduce to your repertoire.