Kohlrabi offers the best of both worlds: a crunchy base that looks a bit like an artichoke and Vitamin C and potassium-rich leaves that are similar to cabbage or collard greens, no surprise given that it is a member of the Brassica family. The leaves taste like broccoli so they are perfect for people who don’t like the strong taste of spring greens.
How to buy Kohlrabi
Kolhrabi bulbs should measure about 3-4 inches. If they are any smaller they are too young, any larger and they will be tough. The leaves should be dark green and have no blemishes and look fresh, not wilted.
How to store Kohlrabi
Remove the green leaves from the bulb and wrap the leaves in damp paper towel and wrap them in cling film – use within 3 days. Store the kohlrabi bulbs separately, wrapped in cling film or tin foil – they will last longer as they are firmer and you can often keep them for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
How to prepare and cook Kohlrabi
The Bulb: You will only need to peel the kohlrabi bulb if it is old and the skin is rough. If it is a young bulb, there is no need to peel it. To eat the bulb in a salad, slice it thinly and treat it like fennel, serving it raw with a light olive oil and vinegar or lemon dressing or cook chunks of the peeled base in butter until they are firm but a fork will go through them easily.
The Leaves: Shred the deep green leaves finely and treat them the same way you would cabbage leaves. If you are cooking the bulb in butter, add the shredded leaves to the pan too, then add a splash of cream and cook until the cream has thickened. Season and eat with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese or serve with juicy, fatty roast pork, boiled ham, griddled chicken or turkey, roast beef or a steak.
You can also thinly slice the base of the kohlrabi, toss them in olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Bake them in a single layer in a non-stick tray in a slow oven (130C/250F/Gas 1/2) for up to an hour or until they are crispy. Serve them just as you would parsnip chips, either topping a dish with them for extra texture or just serve them seasoned with sea salt as a novel snack (get people to guess what they are!).
Shredded kohlrabi is excellent as a replacement for white cabbage in coleslaw – you don’t even have to peel it – just cut it into fine matchsticks or batons or shred it in the food processor and add it to carrot and mayonnaise and any other ingredients and toss. You can also season it, toss it in a fruity olive oil and lemon juice, add some lemon zest and thyme and offer it as a side salad.
Kohlrabi and Parmesan Gratin
You can also simmer slices of the bulb of the kohlrabi in water until it is half-cooked, drain, then layer in a gratin dish with white sauce and grated parmesan, top with a final layer of parmesan and bake in a medium oven (180C/350F/Gas 5) until the kohlrabi is soft and the gratin is bubbling (you can do this with celery, fennel, carrots too). Serve with roast beef.
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