Surprising Ways to Cook with Kohlrabi

Surprising Ways to Cook with Kohlrabi

Unlocking the Hidden Potential of Kohlrabi

As I stepped into Camperdown Elm, the aroma of sizzling kohlrabi wafted through the air, piquing my curiosity. This unassuming vegetable, often overlooked in the shadow of its leafy green cousins, was the star of the show. Little did I know that my culinary journey was about to take an unexpected turn, revealing the surprisingly diverse ways to incorporate kohlrabi into my cooking repertoire.

My love affair with kohlrabi began that day at Camperdown Elm, a Brooklyn-based restaurant that has made it their mission to showcase the versatility of this often-underappreciated vegetable. As I sat down at one of the cozy tables, the chef, Emily, approached me with a mischievous grin. “You know, kohlrabi is so much more than just a crudité,” she said, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “Let me show you what I mean.”

Kohlrabi: The Underdog of the Vegetable World

What is it about kohlrabi that sets it apart from the rest? For starters, this member of the cabbage family boasts a unique taste and texture that can elevate any dish. The crisp, juicy flesh, with its subtle sweetness and peppery undertones, lends itself beautifully to a wide range of culinary applications.

But the real surprise lies in its versatility. Kohlrabi can be sliced, diced, grated, or even roasted whole, depending on the desired outcome. And the best part? It retains its distinctive flavor and crunch, even when subjected to various cooking methods.

As Emily explained, “Kohlrabi is the chameleon of the vegetable world. It can seamlessly transition from a refreshing slaw to a creamy gratin, all while maintaining its signature character.” With that, she presented me with a series of dishes that showcased the remarkable range of this unsung hero.

Kohlrabi Slaw: A Crunchy Delight

The first dish that caught my eye was a vibrant kohlrabi slaw, adorned with a tangy vinaigrette and a sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds. Emily had grated the kohlrabi into fine ribbons, creating a crisp and refreshing base for the salad.

“Kohlrabi slaw is the perfect way to showcase the vegetable’s natural crunch,” she explained, as I took a bite. “The shredded texture adds a wonderful textural contrast to the dish, while the vinaigrette helps to balance the peppery notes.”

I couldn’t help but nod in agreement, my taste buds dancing with delight. The slaw was a symphony of flavors and textures, with the kohlrabi effortlessly taking center stage. It was a revelation, and I found myself already planning ways to incorporate this into my own cooking.

Kohlrabi Gratin: A Creamy Indulgence

As I savored the slaw, Emily presented me with another dish – a creamy kohlrabi gratin, crowned with a golden-brown cheese topping. I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow, intrigued by the contrast between the crunchy slaw and this decadent casserole.

“Kohlrabi gratin is the ultimate comfort food,” she said, a mischievous glint in her eye. “The natural sweetness of the kohlrabi pairs beautifully with the rich, velvety béchamel sauce and the melted cheese on top.”

I eagerly dug in, my fork slicing through the crisp, golden crust to reveal the tender, almost-buttery kohlrabi beneath. The flavors were a harmonious blend of savory and indulgent, with the kohlrabi serving as the perfect foil to the creamy sauce.

“Who would have thought that this unassuming vegetable could be transformed into such a luxurious dish?” I mused, savoring every bite. Emily simply smiled, knowing that she had once again proven the versatility of kohlrabi.

Roasted Kohlrabi: A Revelation in Texture

As I sat back, marveling at the diverse ways kohlrabi could be prepared, Emily had one more surprise in store. She presented me with a plate of roasted kohlrabi, its exterior caramelized to a crisp golden hue and the interior tender and succulent.

“Roasting kohlrabi is a game-changer,” she proclaimed, her eyes alight with enthusiasm. “The high heat brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetable, while creating a delightful contrast between the crunchy exterior and the creamy, almost-nutty interior.”

I eagerly took a bite, and the flavors exploded on my tongue. The kohlrabi had a depth of flavor that I had never experienced before, with a subtle sweetness that was balanced by a slight peppery kick. The texture was simply divine – the crisp outer layer gave way to a soft, almost-buttery center that melted in my mouth.

“This is kohlrabi like you’ve never tasted it before,” Emily said, her grin widening as she watched me savor the dish. “It’s a revelation in texture and a testament to the versatility of this underappreciated vegetable.”

Kohlrabi Fritters: A Crispy Delight

As if the previous dishes weren’t enough to pique my interest, Emily had one more surprise up her sleeve – kohlrabi fritters. These golden-brown beauties were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with the distinct flavor of the kohlrabi shining through.

“Kohlrabi fritters are the perfect way to showcase the vegetable’s natural crunch,” she explained, as I eagerly took a bite. “By grating the kohlrabi and binding it with a light batter, we create a delightful texture that’s both crispy and satisfying.”

The fritters were a revelation, with the kohlrabi’s peppery notes complemented by the savory, golden-brown exterior. I found myself reaching for more, captivated by the way the dish balanced the vegetable’s natural sweetness with a satisfying crunch.

“It’s like a vegetable-based hash brown, but with so much more personality,” I remarked, my mouth still full of the delicious fritters. Emily nodded in agreement, her eyes sparkling with pride.

Kohlrabi Remoulade: A Tangy Twist

As I savored the last bite of the kohlrabi fritters, Emily presented me with one final dish – a kohlrabi remoulade. This tangy, creamy condiment was a perfect foil to the rich and indulgent dishes I had experienced earlier.

“Kohlrabi remoulade is the unsung hero of the condiment world,” she said, as she spooned a generous amount onto my plate. “The grated kohlrabi provides a lovely crunch, while the tangy dressing adds a bright, refreshing element to balance out heavier dishes.”

I dipped a crisp slice of bread into the remoulade, and the flavors burst forth on my tongue. The sharp, vinegary notes of the dressing were perfectly tempered by the natural sweetness of the kohlrabi, creating a harmonious blend that had me reaching for more.

“This is the perfect topping for grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or even as a dip for fresh-baked bread,” I marveled, already picturing the endless possibilities this remoulade could bring to my culinary repertoire.

Embracing the Versatility of Kohlrabi

As I sat back, my taste buds still tingling from the symphony of flavors I had experienced, I couldn’t help but marvel at the incredible versatility of kohlrabi. This unassuming vegetable had transformed before my eyes, morphing from a crisp slaw to a rich, indulgent gratin, and then into a revelation in texture with the roasted and fried preparations.

“Kohlrabi is the chameleon of the vegetable world,” Emily had said, and now I understood exactly what she meant. This humble vegetable was capable of so much more than simply being a crudité or a garnish. It could take center stage, elevating every dish it touched with its distinct flavor and texture.

As I bid farewell to Camperdown Elm, my mind swirled with ideas for how I could incorporate kohlrabi into my own cooking. From a tangy remoulade to a creamy gratin, the possibilities were endless. And I couldn’t wait to get started, eager to unlock the hidden potential of this underappreciated vegetable.

One thing was certain – my perception of kohlrabi had been forever changed. No longer would it be relegated to the sidelines, destined to be overshadowed by its more popular counterparts. Thanks to the culinary wizardry of the team at Camperdown Elm, I had discovered a newfound appreciation for this versatile and delicious vegetable.

So, the next time you see a kohlrabi at your local farmers’ market or grocery store, don’t hesitate. Grab it, bring it home, and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure. Who knows what delicious surprises might await you?