Tuesday, 25 October 2011

If You're Thinkin' 'Bout Bein' My Dinner- It Don't Matter if You're Black or White

Tacchino Affumicato, Scorzonera e Fagiolini
Smoked Turkey, Black Salsify and Green Beans

Do you know what "Black Salsify" is? I would say that all Germans do- it is a well known and
loved vegetable over here and very commonplace. But for me, the sight of those 20" long, narrow, black roots, has never caused more than a raised eyebrow from me. It has just never registered on my culinary radar. Until last Saturday. Finally, curiosity took charge and before I knew it, I had asked for a couple to be bagged at the farmers market- and this evening was a premier for me! The traditional way to prepare them over here, is in a cream sauce- and you know that is not likely to happen in my kitchen! So I set about doing it my way- a little lighter- but hopefully also a lot yummier!

I have always been told that black salsify tastes a little like white asparagus- so I cut a tiny slice off and tasted it to see what I thought. It had a light and pleasant flavor- very mild and good as a side dish in any case. I decided to boil the little 2" sticks in milk and added a hint of cinnamon, vanilla and garlic, to gently perfume it. As you can see from my photo's, although the skin is black, the root itself is snow white. I let it boil for 10 minutes or so. I then drained it and transferred it to a frying pan, grated it with orange zest, added finely chopped parsley, a little ground nutmeg, salt and pepper sautéed it gently until it was nice and lightly golden brown in a little clarified butter.

I also picked up a couple of nice, juicy, smoked-turkey breast steaks from a local poultry stand on Saturday. I hadn't had smoked meat in a long while and am not really a huge fan- but I thought it would be nice to revisit that flavor and see if we couldn't become friends after all! I fried it at a moderate heat with very little clarified butter, a sprinkle of paprika, salt and pepper, until it became a lovely, rich, red and juicy color. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and fresh marjoram. As if it wasn't delicious enough, I gave it a very light honey glaze right at the end before serving and a light sprinkle of my "Salt of the Earth"... perfect!

The beans were simply, 2" strips of runner beans, which I steamed, buttered and served as a plain and neutral side... the perfect accompaniment to an already delicious duette! And don't they say that "All Good Things Come in Threes"?

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