Yid.Dish: “Coolrabi:” Yeah, I said it.

By Liz Lawler

Published April 27, 2009.
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The Undercover Vegetarian hummed softly to herself as she snipped and set aside the kohlrabi greens. They were to be roasted like kale and served up still crispy and warm. Humble Husband, skittish around root vegetables, eyed the proceedings warily. “Are those onions? Those look like onions. You know how I feel about those.” Shifting from one foot to the other, he seemed determined to underscore his discomfort, lest she think this experiment was welcome. The Celeriac Debacle of 2007 had left an indelible mark on the family, and the spirit of culinary adventure had been slow to return….

This was not the family’s first foray into kohlrabi country. A few weeks before, she had chopped and roasted a few bulbs to serve along side an omelet. When asked his opinion of the dish, her husband had only replied with a question of his own: “Are these healthier than potatoes? Is that why we’re eating them?”

Two Foot Tyrant, their toddler, had flatly rejected the offering, recoiling after the first bite and clamping his mouth shut against the onslaught. To bring his point home, he had laid behind the dining room table, playing dead in the hopes that the woman would simply lose interest. Indeed, the dish had amounted to a heaping bowl of “m’eh.” Clearly not a decisive win for kohlrabi, but not a total defeat either.

She was upping the anti with this raw kohlrabi slaw. It was simple enough: soak a handful of raisins in couple of tablespoons of sherry vinegar for a half and hour. In the meantime, peel three kohlrabi bulbs using a pairing knife. Make this a moving meditation, take care in working your way around each nub in the flesh. The topography of this member of the brassica family demands careful and precise movement.

Shred up the denuded bulbs and roughly chop some walnuts (and fistful will do ya) to add some crunch. Now, mix the shredded veg and walnuts in with the raisins and give it all a good toss. Add a heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise (substitute veganaise, if desired), some salt and pepper and stir thoroughly to coat.

What does it all amount to? Well, basically coleslaw. But a peppery and refreshing one at that, one whose flavor slid under the radar of some very picky eaters. Humble Husband ate it happily, and Two Foot Tyrant seemed tickled by the tang of the dressing. The crispy greens were a hit as well. The committee voted and added kohlrabi to the narrow repertoire of veggies allowed in the house. Undercover Vegetarian jubilated quietly; it was a small but decisive step towards a balanced diet. As she tidied up for the night, she pondered her next move. Did she dare propose a summer squash?


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