Kohlrabi GratinMar 26, 2012Posted by guestchefPrint
Kohlrabi is a delicious vegetable that is woefully underused here in the United States. A member of the cabbage family, kohlrabi has a sweet, mild flavor that is hard to pin down, but if I had to try I’d say it’s like a cross between broccoli, rutabaga and potato. When I reread that description, it doesn’t sound very good, but please don’t let it scare you away. Give kohlrabi a chance! For this recipe, I paired it with the flavors of horseradish and basil, which I think all played very nicely together.
- 3 lbs kohlrabi with leaves still on
- 1 qt Cream
- 8 oz Cheese mascarpone
- 2 eggs
- 2 T horseradish freshly grated
- 1/2 C basil leaves torn
- salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- butter for greasing your baking dish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, trim the leaves from the bulbs of the kohlrabi. Remove the woody center ribs from the leaves and then blanch the greens in the boiling water for approximately 1 minute. Remove from the water and allow to drain. When the greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible and then give them a rough chop. Set aside.
- In a large pot, bring the cream to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Reduce by half, then set aside and allow to cool.
- Peel the kohlrabi using a knife or peeler. The tough outer skin can be thick; keep peeling until any signs of woodiness are gone and you’re left with the somewhat translucent greenish-white inner flesh. Using a mandoline or a sharp kitchen knife, slice the kohlrabi into very thin rounds. Blanch in the boiling salted water for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. The kohlrabi should be more pliable but still have a crunch to it when you take it out of the water. Allow to cool.
- Whisk together the reduced cream, mascarpone cheese, eggs, horseradish and salt and pepper to taste. Butter the sides and bottom of an 8×8 baking dish. Pour a small amount of the cream mixture into the bottom of the dish. Next, build your gratin in layers, alternating kohlrabi, blanched greens, basil and cream until you’re within a quarter-inch of the top of your dish. Top the gratin with more of the cream mixture and use your hands to press down the gratin in order to remove any air pockets and allow the cream to seep down between everything. (You may not need all of the kohlrabi or cream to fill up your baking dish, depending on its exact dimensions.)
- Place the gratin on a rack in a low-to-medium wood oven. You don’t want to cook this too hot or the cream will burn around the edges. (To be honest, my first shot at this dish got a little scorched.) This is a recipe you’ll want to try after you’ve done your high-heat cooking and the oven is cooling down. Allow to bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the cream mixture has started to set up and the kohlrabi feels tender when pierced with a knife. If the gratin starts to get too dark on top, cover with foil and continue baking.
- Allow the gratin to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving. This dish would make a great accompaniment to a wood-oven roasted prime rib or beef tenderloin.