You may have seen a peculiar looking vegetable on your supermarket shelves that resembles a bunch of old sticks. They are dark brown or black thin roots that look, well, twiggy. They are Scorzonera. Their texture is similar to parsnip and some say they taste like a cross between artichoke hearts and jerusalem artichokes.
The Victorians used to eat them, mainly for their supposed health giving properties. Today they are eaten purely for their taste - french chefs praise this vegetable as a superior food.
- Poor old Belgium gets a bad press for being famous for nothing much but boring facts. Well I’m probably going to add to this because Belgium is arguably the world’s largest producer of Scorzonera!
- Scorzonera is part of the daisy family. If you let the plant grow to flowering stage, you can eat the flowers.
- This vegetable is high in carbohydrates but rich in inulin and laevulin (does not increase blood sugar) which makes it suitable for diabetics to eat.
Scorzonera should be cleaned but not peeled and boiled for about 10 minutes. The outer skin should then be peeled off. They are now ready for a variety of recipes. Try this one:
10-12 Scorzonera roots
4 cups of stock (of your choice)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Sprinkling herbs (of your choice). You might like to try sage, thyme or rosemary
Salt and pepper
Wash but don’t peel scorzonera. Parboil in stock for 10 minutes - they should be firm not soft. Drain, peel and cut into two pieces.
Heat oil in pan, toss veges in hot oil, sprinkle with herbs (not parsley).
Season vegetables to taste, then roast at 180 degrees C for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
When ready, add chopped parsley.
For a little extra sweetness, drizzle a teaspoon of honey over vegetables before roasting.
Serves 4-6 people