For the past two summers I’ve signed up for my local CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). For the most part, it’s great! I get tons of fresh, local and often organic produce at a very reasonable rate, without having to shop. All I have to do is pick up my box from the farmer at a close-by meeting point. But every now and then there’s something weird in my box. Or I get a veggie I love, but in such huge quantities that I have to scramble to come up with ways to use it all.
The harvest is coming on fast and furious now, so for the next month or so I’m going to be writing a weekly post featuring an unusual or overly-abundant item from my CSA share…and how I managed to use it. This week, I’m featuring the wild-but-mild kohlrabi.
The kohlrabi belongs to the same family as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, but looks a bit like an alien vegetable from another planet. This isn’t the first time it’s shown up in my CSA box. It’s got a mild, rather bland flavor, kind of like a broccoli stem. I’ve tried it steamed and sauteed, and it’s always been okay…but just okay. When it showed up again this week, I took it as a challenge: is there a way to give that mild flavor more kick?
So I went looking for a new way to prepare it, and found a few references to kohlrabi fries.
Fries? What’s not great fried?? So guess what was on tonight’s menu? You guessed it.
To make kohlrabi fries, you’ll need a few kohlrabi, canola or vegetable oil, flour (I used semolina, which has a nice texture and browns well), salt and any other seasonings you might want to use.
- The first step in cooking kohlrabi is to remove the tough, reedy exterior. I used a curved paring knife, but any sharp knife will do. Just be careful, because the peel isn’t easy to remove, especially at the ends.
- Now slice the kohlrabi into fry-sized slices and toss with 2-3 tablespoons of flour mixed with salt.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully drop the kohlrabi slices into the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Let the slices fry for 3-4 minutes per side – it may take a little less or more time depending on the size; just watch carefully for browning, and turn the slices when they’re turning golden on the bottom.
- When the fries are done, remove to a plate with tongs. Doesn’t that golden crust look great? (A few of mine got a bit over-done because I didn’t get them flipped fast enough. Whoops!)
- Once all the fries were done, I gave them another sprinkling of sea salt, mixed with a little cumin. I think you could add anything at this point – chili powder, garlic powder – to give the fries added pizzazz.
The verdict? Surprisingly good! The frying definitely gave the mild veggie more textural interest, and the cumin added some nice smoky heat. I tried them with mustard, but the kids preferred ketchup. Either way, a great way to use up a veggie that I’ve always been a little afraid of. CSA success!