The Brassica family has some strange descendants, and kohlrabi is at the top of the list for wierdness. They share the same branch of the family tree with broccoli, kale, and cabbage, so they have a hint of those flavors. They have leaves that resemble cauliflower, but we’re not in it for the leaves. Of course, you can eat them just like kale or collards. Many parts of the kohlrabi plant ARE edible. Kohlrabi is all about the swollen stem.
It may look like a root, but it’s not—the edible part is actually just above the ground, hovering like an alien transport. It starts out looking like its cousins, but slowly over the summer that tender stem swells like a pregnant ???, until fall when it is finally ripe and sweetened by a few frosty nights.
The skin is edible, but we prefer to peel it, removing the knobby leaf nodes with it. Then we slice it and eat it raw with a little salt. Kind of like a cabbagey apple. It is also delightful cut into sticks and added to a salad, added to stews, soups, or stir-fries. Substitute it when carrots are called for, or mash it like potatoes or turnips. It is sweeter and milder than a turnip though.
SIMPLE SAUTÉED KOHLRABI
2 medium Kohlrabi bulbs, grated
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Butter or Oil
1 medium Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic, mined or pressed
2 tbsp. chopped fresh Thyme, Chives, or Sage
1. Mix the kohlrabi and salt in a colander and let stand for 30 minutes to drain.
2. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sautée for 1 minute more.
3. Stir in the kohlrabi. Reduce hte heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Increase the heat to medium, uncover the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Let stand for a couple minutes to let the flavors develop.
KOHLRABI HASH BROWNS
4 medium Kohlrabi bulbs, peeled (about 1 pound)
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 small Onion, chopped
2 tbsp. Dried Bread Crumbs
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp. Dried Red Pepper Flakes
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Butter
Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream
1. Grate the kohlrabi and wrap it in a dish towel. Squeeze out excess moisture.
2. Combine eggs, onion, bread crumbs, salt, ginger, red pepper in a large mixin bowl. Add black pepper to taste. Stir until well blended.
3. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet. Add the kohlrabi and press down firmly with a sturdy spatula. Do not stir. Let the kohlrabi cook until brown, 5-7 minutes. Carefully flip the kohlrabi with the spatula, press down firmly with the spatula again, and brown for another 5 to 7 minutes. (Iff the kohlrabi is in a layer thicker than 1/4 inch, you may want to stir it up after the last 5-7 minutes to let the inner part cook and brown.) Serve with yogurt or sour cream.
KOHLRABI AND CARROT SLAW
1 pound Kohlrabi (about 4 medium bulbs), peeled, grated
2 medium-large Carrots, grated
1 Red Belle Pepper, diced
1 small Red Onion, chopped
2 tsp. chopped Fresh Thyme
1 large clove Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup Olive Oil
4 cups Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1. Toss the kohlrabi, carrots, belle pepper, onion, thyme, and garlic in a large bowl.
2. Whisk the sour cream, oil, vinegar, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
2 pounds Kohlrabi, trimmed and peeled
4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper
1/2 to 3/4 pound Cooked Ham, cut into 1-inch thick strips
1/4 cup chopped Fresh Parsley
2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Heavy or Whipping Cream
1/8 tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg
4 Egg Yolks
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the kohlrabi bulbs into 1/8-inch thick slices.
2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Toss in the kohlrabi slices. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, tossing occasionally, aout 15 minutes.
3. With a slotted spoon transfer one third of the kohlrabi to a 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add half the ham. Sprinkle with half hte parsley. Continue to layer, finishing with a layer of kohlrabi. Reserve the pan liquids.
4. Add the flour to the cooking juices in the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium0low heat, sirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add the cream. Continue to cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the hot sauce. Stir this mixture back into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the kohlrabi and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.