Thursday, June 11, 2015

Vegetable Feature: Kohlrabi

by Andrea Yoder
Kohlrabi is one of our favorite spring vegetables (I say that a lot…I guess we have a lot of favorites!).  It fills a special spot in the season as it bridges the gap between all of the leafy greens we have early in the season and some of the more substantial vegetables such as beets, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and cabbage which need a little more time.  While many think that kohlrabi is a root vegetable, it’s actually a swollen stem that grows above the ground.  It has a unique appearance all to its own with collard-like leaves growing from thin stems that extend out of the bulb part of the kohlrabi.  The greens are also edible and can be cooked similarly to collards or kale.
You may find green or purple kohlrabi (or both!) in your box.  The only difference between the two is the color of the skin.  Once you peel it away the tender, crisp vegetable on the inside is the same.  The skin is a little tough, so we do recommend you peel it off.  I usually cut the kohlrabi bulb into quarters and then peel away the skin with a paring knife.
Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables that you don’t really need to do much with to enjoy it. It’s a great vegetable to snack on with your favorite dip or salad dressing.  Sprinkle it with a little salt and a squeeze of lemon and you’re on your way.  If you do want to get more creative, kohlrabi makes an excellent slaw when shredded or sliced thinly and tossed with a dressing or vinaigrette of your choosing.  It can also be cooked, but be careful not too over cook it or it will lose its bright, mild flavor.  Lightly sauté it or stir-fry it with a little butter or a simple sauce…and don’t forget to add the greens too!
It is best to store kohlrabi in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or a container with a lid to prevent the greens from wilting.  The bulb will last for a few weeks, but I’d encourage you to eat it soon to make room on your plate for all the other vegetables coming your way soon!

Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi
by Andrea Yoder

Serves 4
16 ounces boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp dry sherry
4 Tbsp soy sauce
¼ tsp ground white pepper
2-3 Tbsp peanut or sunflower oil, divided
¼ cup thinly sliced green garlic or garlic scapes
6 ounces shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced thinly (approx. 2 cups)
2 kohlrabi, leaves and bulb
2-3 baby bok choi, sliced thinly (approx. 2 cups)
Chinese chile sauce or 2 tsp red curry paste
Kosher salt, to taste
Cooked rice for serving

  1. First, prepare all of the vegetables as indicated above.  For the kohlrabi, first separate the leaves from the bulb.  Remove the stem from the leaves and thinly slice the greens.  Cut the bulbs in half and peel off the outer layer.  Cut the flesh into matchsticks.  Set aside until you’re ready to start the stir-fry.
  2. Freeze the pork for 15 minutes, then remove it from the freezer and slice it into ¼-inch thick slices.  Stack the slices and cut them into ¼-inch wide strips.  Transfer the pork to a medium bowl and toss with the cornstarch, sherry, soy sauce, white pepper and 1 Tbsp of the oil.
  3. Heat a large skillet until almost smoking.  Add 1 Tbsp of the oil and heat until the oil shimmers.  Drain the liquid off the pork, reserving it for use later.  Add the pork to the pan and stir-fry until it is cooked through, which will only take about 1-3 minutes.  Transfer the pork to a plate and set aside.  Add a little more oil to the pan.  Add the green garlic or scapes and mushrooms.  Stir-fry for 30-45 seconds or until the mushrooms are softened and wilting a bit.
  4. Add the kohlrabi greens and stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until wilted.  Next add the kohlrabi bulb as well as the baby bok choi.  Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the pork and the reserved liquid back into the pan.  Stir-fry for a few more minutes or until the vegetables are just tender and the pork is hot.  
  5. If you like a little spice, serve the stir-fry with Chinese chile sauce, or stir in 2 tsp of red curry paste at the end of cooking. 
  6. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and white pepper if needed.  Serve immediately with cooked rice.

No comments: