Kohlrabi has a squat, bulb-like stem that grows above ground and antennae-like leaves. It can be found in two colours: pale green and purple.
It is a member of the brassica (cabbage) family and has a subtle but sweet taste, with a texture similar to a radish, cabbage core or broccoli stem. The two varieties commonly grown in South Australia are White Vienna and Purple Vienna.
Kohlrabi is widely used in Germanic and Central European countries and on the Indian subcontinent. When selecting kohlrabi, avoid larger bulbs, which can be tough, and any bulbs with soft spots. Pick ones with fresh, green leaves.
Peel the bulbs with either a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Cut into slices, chunks or wedges which can be roasted, steamed or stir-fried. To roast, first steam for five minutes, then roast for 45 minutes. The leaves can also be cooked like cabbage.
You can find kohlrabi at Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market at the Patlins Gardens stall on Sunday from 9am to 1pm at the Adelaide Showground, Leader Street, Wayville.
A wide range of locally grown seasonal vegetables are also available at Willunga Farmers’ Market on Saturday from 8am to 12.30pm. Also open on Saturdays, from 8am to noon, is the Gawler Farmers’ Market at the Gawler Visitor Information Centre, 2 Lyndoch Road, Gawler.
Lyndall Vandenberg, marketing and communications co-ordinator for the Willunga Farmers’ Market, has shared her recipe for kohlrabi, parsnip and potato gratin.
She says the vegetable’s mild taste, “similar to a sweet radish”, mean it benefits from slow cooking. “I love the balance of sweetness and textures in this dish, and while the list of ingredients are simple, the gratin is packed full of flavour.”
Kohlrabi, parsnip and potato gratin
400g each of kohlrabi, parsnips and potatoes, peeled and sliced into disks
2 cups full-cream milk
1 generous pinch saffron threads
40g each of basil and parsley, chopped
100g parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180°C (fan-forced).
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the vegetables to a steamer and cook for about 2 minutes. Set vegetables aside to cool a little.
Gently heat the milk in a small saucepan, add the saffron and cook for 5 minutes. Pour the cream in slowly and whisk to combine.
Combine the vegetables in a large bowl with the herbs and parmesan, then season with salt and pepper. Pour the vegetables and sauce into an oven-proof dish, cover with foil, then bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes or until the sauce has been absorbed into the vegetables and the top is golden.
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