Sometimes these strange CSA vegetables show up and coming up with some way to use it just gets put on the back burner for a while. Sometimes, you even let the questionable vegetable turn on itself, as humidity and ethylene from other produce attack the simple, misunderstood… whatever it is. In this case, last year for me it was the kohlrabi. And for about three weeks this year, it was still the kohlrabi, sitting in the crisper, asking why it was being ignored.
I took to the great wide Internet for inspiration and saw kohlrabi fries, baked in the oven. That sounded alright, and since we had the grill going from earlier I decided to shake it up, in a literal sense.
Kohlrabi has a thick outer skin that needs to be peeled, like a sweet potato or a cucumber, so use a paring knife to get the green off.
Then lay the skinned vegetable on its side and cut it into 1/2″ ish rounds. Take each round and slice is horizontally to make fry shapes, keeping the size fairly consistent so they’ll cook evenly. Once cutting is complete, toss them in a tupperware container with a lid, for the shaking will commence shortly.
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil in, enough to coat the fries well, and this will depend on the size of your vegetable. I started with one the size of a softball, but have seen them come smaller, like a small tennis ball. Next, season with your choice of herbs and salts. I used a premade Trader Joe’s blend of chili powder, garlic and smoked sea salt, so feel free to be creative here, but definitely use a little salt. Lemon zest, taco seasoning, herbs de provence, Tony Chachere cajun seasoning, and many more would go great here. Put the lid on tightly and shake well so that the oil and seasonings evenly coat the fries.
Now this part may require some improvision on your part if you don’t have a grilling pan or basket. If you don’t and plan to grill vegetables this summer I highly recommend it. I got one from World Market last summer (or maybe even the one before that, time is really slipping away from me any more) and use it often. Barring having a grill pan, alumnimun foil on the grates will give the kohlrabi the smoky flavor but unforunately probably not the color or charriness that tastes so good.
If the seasoning didn’t coat evenly, use this opportunity and a spatula to fix that. Then close the lid and grill for about 20 minutes directly over a low flame, turning occasionally. And hey, watch out cause that handle does get hot. Use those 20 minutes to go grab an oven mitt.
So that’s all well and good right? What does kohlrabi REALLY taste like?
Its texture acts like that of a potato, both raw and after being cooked. However, this veggie does belong to the brassica family, from where our friends cabbage and broccoli are descended. So the taste is similar to that of a broccoli stem, without the unpleasant stringy and chewiness of it. It’s not an unpleasant taste, though you won’t be fooling anyone into thinking these are actual potatoes. So don’t fear the kohlrabi anymore, embrace it when it comes unto you, and show it a little love. In return it’ll shower you with plenty of vitamin C, along with a little manganese and B vitamins for fun and health.