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Foodie Fights presents Battle Kohlrabi & Rosemary
Decision time. Do I go for the over the top use of the two ingredients? Kohlrabi steaks grilled over a fire made of rosemary branches served on a turnip rosemary ciabatta bread slathered with rosemary aiolli and topped with a German turnip tapenade and rosemary ice cream? Sounds good, affordable, not too labor intensive. Maybe I can flash my rural roots and make a deer camp specialty, turnip fries. Not original but tasty. No. I think I will follow rule #1. Make something I would want to eat.
Kohlrabi has a slightly bitter flavor and smooth texture, the greens are best when braised. Rosemary has a bright dominant, piney flavor. Neither one is a real leader and taste bud fatigue can set in pretty early. I will take advantage of the smooth texture of the kohlrabi and bring in the front of the mouth acidity with the greens. The rosemary and lemon should add another layer of complexity
The test of a dish is not if my family and friends like it, they love me and know I cry if they say something mean. A better test is to see if you can sell it to strangers in exchange for their hard earned cash. Would I order this if I saw it on a menu?
After a two hour mountain bike ride pondering the union of "German turnips" and rosemary this is what I came up with. A nice appetizer course or light lunch. A balance of textures with the crispy rice and smooth kohlrabi with bright citrus and rosemary notes.
You can make this dish in stages over a few days. Warning-- this is not a recipe for fans of 30 minutes meals.
Arborio & Rosemary Crusted Kohlrabi Cakes
Medallions of kohlrabi and Vermont Ayr cheese wrapped in arborio rice seasoned with rosemary and lemon zest. Pan fried nice and crispy. A room temperature salad of heirloom tomatoes, toasted garlic slices,smoky bacon & braised turnip greens in a champagne vinegar dressing complements the turnip cakes. Finish the dish with a butter sauce accented with a brunoise of steamed kohlrabi and a touch of red jalapeno pepper.
Sounds like a lot of work. Let' see if it is.
Step 1. Boil two whole kohlrabi, reserve leaves, until tender, use a skewer to test for doneness, it should pass thru with little resistance. Chill and peel. Slice 1/4 inch thick and using a 2" diameter cutter punch into rounds. You need two rounds per serving. Save the rest of the turnip for small diced turnips in the butter sauce. Waste not want not
Step 2. Wash kohlrabi leaves and simmer in salted water with 1/2 thinly slice onion until tender, about 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water and squeeze out all excess water. Squeeze it like you mean it.
Step 3. Cook some short grained rice, I used arborio. Sweat a shallot, add 1 cup rice, 2 cups liquid and a splash of white wine. Simmer with a lid on until done. Aga owners can throw it in the Baking Oven for 20 minutes. Lay the rice out on a sheet pan to cool. Add 1 clove of crushed garlic, zest of 1 lemon and 3 nice stalks of fresh rosemary finely chopped. Don't forget to season your food as you go.
Step 4. Make the vinaigrette. Heat 3 Tablespoons of grapeseed or light olive oil with 3 cracked peppercorns, 1 big clove of garlic thinly sliced until the garlic is lightly toasted and aromatic. Immediately remove from the heat, add juice of a wedge of lemon, 1 Tablespoon champagne vinegar, salt and a big pinch of fresh chopped parsley. ( it would be easy to add rosemary here but you lose the balance in the dish)
Step 5. Make some crispy bacon lardons (slice into strips about 1 inch by 1/4 inch) and slowly cook turning often for even crisping.
Step 6. Slice a little cheese, about 1/2 ounce per person and punch out with the 2" cutter. I used an alpine style cheese from a local dairy called Vermont Ayr. You can sub out a good local cheese from your neck of the woods or a high quality Swiss.
Step 7. Cut up an heirloom tomato into chunks
Step 8. Make butter sauce, reduce 1/2 cup white wine and juice from a wedge of lemon with a diced shallot, very small dice of 1/2 of a red jalapeno and brunoise (small dice) of reserved kohlrabi. When wine reduction is au sec (almost dry) add a touch of cream and remove from heat, stir in 1/2 stick of cold unsalted butter, season and leave somewhere warm
Assemble Kohlrabi Cakes
Season your turnip slices, put a thin layer of cheese between two turnip slices, skewer with two toothpicks
On a cutting board flatten out two small handfuls of rice into a thin circle, really press them out but no holes. Thin to win baby.
Dredge your turnip slices in flour, brush with egg wash using the toothpicks as handles. Place in center of one disc of rice, place other disc of rice on top. It's OK if it falls apart a little just press back together. Using a 2 1/2" cutter punch out around the disc. Remove excess rice. Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs on both sides of the turnip cake. Pan fry over moderate heat, nice and crispy on both sides. Hold somewhere warm.
room temp salad of braised kohlrabi greens, heirloom tomatoes from Gaylord Farm
In a steel bowl toss the braised greens with the tomato, some of the bacon, and dressing to your taste. Be sure to get the toasted sliced garlic in there. Add some chopped parsley. Again, season your food.
Let's Plate It Up
Place one cake down near the center, mound a small amount of salad in center of plate, lean other cake against the salad. Drizzle butter sauce around the plate and top salad with some reserved bacon.
Holy cow that's a mouthful, thanks for reading all the way to the bottom. G
Bonus picture, no extra charge!