October 18, 2016

Forgotten Vegetables: refresh your memory!

Forgotten vegetables are having a resurgence. From salsify to crosne, from cardoon to rooted parsley, here's a selection of the most intriguing lost veg.

Forgotten vegetables

The so-called forgotten vegetables are often unfashionable vegetables that were associated with periods of war and famine. Fortunately, gardeners and curious chefs are now interested in these unloved varieties. These forgotten vegetables tend to be root vegetables, which are resistant to insects, weather and that keep for a long time. They’re also good for you; lower in calories, and a valuable source of minerals and vitamins. The chefs of La Belle Assiette would be happy to come and help you cook, perhaps using these forgotten vegetables in traditional and seasonal dishes, for just £39 per guest. Enjoy!

Forgotten Vegetables 1: Cardoon

Forgotten vegetables

Cousin of the artichoke, and also known as the thistle artichoke, the cardoon looks like a celery and has thorns down its sides. Cardoons are best eaten cooked, often in a gratin. Typically the stalks are placed in vinegar and water for thirty minutes and then parboiled.  Be warned, however: the variety recognised as the tastiest is also the one that has the most thorns.

Forgotten Vegetables 2: Chervil root

It might look like a short, grey carrot. But don’t let its strange colouration put you off. Once cooked, the flesh becomes tender, delicate and sweet: similar to chestnuts!

Forgotten Vegetables 3: Crosne

Forgotten vegetables

Crosne, or Chinese Artichoke looks similar to the Jerusalem artichoke. In many ways they look like caterpillars. It’s actually a root vegetable and its mild flavour is similar to the more conventional artichoke.

Forgotten Vegetables 4: Parsnips

They do resemble large white carrots. They have a sweet taste, which is particularly versatile in the kitchen. You can make a salad, soup, gratin or mashed potatoes with this vegetable which is ideal for stews and brings comfort when the colder months come.

Forgotten Vegetables 5: Parsley root

Forgotten vegetables

Unlike most known forms of parsley (flat or curly), the root can be eaten cooked or raw. It’s sort of like a light beige carrot, and tastes somewhere between that and celery. But the stalks can also be used as traditional parsley: a truly anti-waste vegetable.

Forgotten Vegetables 6: Swede

Forgotten vegetables

A cross between a cabbage and a turnip, the rutabaga was often eaten during the Second World War during times of rationing. It’s had a resurgence recently and is known to be particularly healthy.

Forgotten Vegetables 7: Salsify

A good source of fibre, the roots of salsify can be peeled and cooked. The young shoots are often served as a fresh salad.

Forgotten Vegetables 8: Black Salsify

The black variety of salsify can be a little tedious. You have to prepare them while wearing gloves to avoid blackened, stained hands.

Forgotten Vegetables 9: Jerusalem Artichoke

Forgotten vegetables

The new star of contemporary cuisine, this one is found on the table of many chefs. Just like cardoon and salsify, it contains inulin, hence its slightly sweet flavour.

If you want to sample these forgotten vegetables, and many others, discover the menus of our private chefs from as little as £39 per guest.

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