- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What is that unidentified sitting object — the light green or purple orb with striations — and no windows or doors — lurking among the salad fixings in the produce market?

This strange thing is kohlrabi, the swollen stem of an uncommon vegetable with wonderful but hidden characteristics.

Kohlrabi tastes like a cross between jicama and a mild radish and delivers a refreshing crunch that keeps its spunk even when marinated in acid and oil.

This trait lends itself perfectly to a slaw; you want the ingredients to yield just a little bit to the dressing but to retain a crispness throughout. Kohlrabi is up to this task.

Once you get it out of its tough, thin skin, the interior is pleasant and smooth — easy to cut and even easier to eat.

If the leaves are intact and look fresh, don’t throw them away.

They cook up beautifully like any other leafy green and combine with other greens really well, too.

Serve this tasty slaw with a sandwich or as a side dish to grilled fish. It’s hard to stop eating.

Kohlrabi slaw with apples, red onions and hazelnuts


½ medium red onion, thinly sliced

3 medium kohlrabi (3-inch diameter)

2 medium Granny Smith apples

Scant ½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons roasted hazelnut oil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon high-quality maple syrup

2 to 3 tablespoons dried cranberries (optional)

½ cup chopped, blanched hazelnuts

Boil about 4 cups of water. Place sliced onion in a colander in the sink. When the water boils, pour it over the onion slices and let them drain thoroughly.

Peel the kohlrabi using a sturdy vegetable peeler. Make sure you get off all the skin — it is quite fibrous. Cut the peeled kohlrabi into thin slices, then into slender batons. Transfer to a medium-size bowl. Cut the apples in a similar fashion so the apple and kohlrabi pieces match. Place these in the bowl, too.

Add the onions and salt to the apples and kohlrabi, and toss with a fork or tongs. As you toss, add the oils, citrus juices, maple syrup and optional dried cranberries, mixing as you go. Cover the bowl and let the salad stand for about 1 hour. (Room temperature is fine, but if it is a very hot day, refrigerate.)

Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

To contact Mollie Katzen, go to www.molliekatzen.com.


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