Organic agriculture and biodiversity have in recent years brought about a rediscovery of many “forgotten” vegetables that people especially in Europe and France conscientiously tried to forget as they reminded them of the privations suffered during WWII. The same people had then to make do with untraditional vegetables because potatoes, carrots and so on were confiscated by occupying forces or their own armies.
With sustainibility and bioagriculture made more important by the deficiencies of modern mass agriculture, those “forgotten” vegetables have suddenly come to the fore for the pleasure of all, and that of course of vegetarians and vegans!
This particular series of postings will introduce these vegetables one by one. I hope they will become useful for a long time to come to all my vegan and vegetarian friends!
SCORSONERE (French)/OYSTER PLANT (English)
Scorsonere, or oyster plant, is a close cousin of the salsify and even of the burdock root.
The main difference is the dark brown/black colour of its skin.
Their history is the same. They are both found in the wild, especially along the Mediteranean Sea.
Scorsonere lost its popularity mainly because it is a chore to peel them, adde to the fact that the sap tends to stain hands. Moreover, they take a long time to cook.
Scorsonere seeds are planted in March~May in soil, spaced 25 cm from each other. Keep the soil clean leaving only one plant every 10 cm. Keep the soil cool (as opposite to hot and dry). Cover with straw in hot weather. If a flower stem appears, cut it to fortify the root.
The plant can stay up to 3 years in soil.
Soil must must be cool, deep and well manured.
harvest is conducted from October to march according to needs.
Once properly cooked, they are very tender and sweet, reminiscent of oysters as their English name indicates, as well of asparaguses and artichokes.
They are great cold in salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette, glazed like carrots, deep-fried as beignets, or cooked again with fresh cream, tomato sauce, parmegianno and herbs!