Salsify and Shiitake Gratin

Salsify and Shiitake Gratin

Keep salsify in cold water as the pieces are cut, because the flesh discolors easily.

The charm of the underappreciated salsify lies in its
delicate sweet taste. In this gratin, thin slices of salsify are baked with shiitake mushrooms and shallots in a cheese sauce that becomes crispy on top.

See other related recipes in Rooting Around.

Yield: 24 (4-ounce) portions
Preparation time:
1¼ hours, plus 30 minutes
unattended baking
Shelf life:
at least 3 days

Ingredients

4 pounds salsify, trimmed
3 ounces unsalted butter
10 ounces shiitake mushroom caps, stemmed, wiped and
sliced
3 ounces shallots, finely chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3¾ pints half-and-half
1½ tablespoons salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
12 ounces grated Gruyère
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/3 cup panko crumbs

Method

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Have ready a food
processor fitted with a 4 mm slicing blade. Peel and trim salsify; cut it crosswise into thirds and return it to the water. Working in
batches, stack the pieces vertically and slice crosswise. Return it to the water.

2. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large heavy pot, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in mushrooms and saute
until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add shallots and remaining butter and cook for a minute longer. Sprinkle flour on top and cook
for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in half-and-half and
bring to a boil, whisking until the mixture has thickened. Do not let
it brown. Add salt, nutmeg and pepper.

3. Drain the salsify, dry well, transfer it to the pot
and cook over medium heat until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring
occasionally.

4. Pour salsify mixture into a deep half-sheet pan.
Drizzle Gruyère on top and bake in the upper third of the oven until
cheese has melted and is bubbling. Sprinkle on parmesan and panko, run the gratin under the broiler until top is golden brown. Remove, let
stand for 15 minutes, cut into 24 portions and serve.

Nutritional Data (per 4-ounce portion): Calories: 170; Cholesterol: 25 mg;
Sodium: 450 mg; Fat: 9 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g

Ingredient Cost Sheet

Ingredients Cost
4 pounds trimmed salsify $6.55-11.05
3 ounces unsalted butter $.45-.75
10 ounces stemmed, wiped, sliced shiitake mushroom caps $5.87-9.78
3 ounces finely chopped shallots $.59-.99
1/3 cup all-purpose flour $.06-.10
3.75 pints half & half $5.83-9.71
1 ½ teaspoons salt  
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg $.14-.07
½ teaspoon round white pepper  
12 ounces grated Gruyere $5.85-9.74
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese $2.47-4.12
1/3 cup panko $.15-.25

Joanna Pruess is a regular contributor to Specialty Food Magazine