Scorzonera in Umido

Stewed Scorzonera

This unusual-looking vegetable, with its dark-brown, long, tapering root is a crisp white inside. It is actually very healthy and sweet tasting. In Liguria they cook it with egg yolks and onion to make a substantial vegetable dish. If you can't get scorzonera, salsify, which is a very similar – though unrelated – vegetable, could be used.

Ingredients

  • 800 g (1 lb 10 oz) scorzonera or salsify juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • about 650 ml (1 pint 3 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten with juice of another lemon

Method

Scrape the scorzonera and drop it into a basin of cold water mixed with the lemon juice. It otherwise discolours in an unpleasant way.

Put the onion and the parsley in the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan and fry over low heat until the onion is transparent. Drain and dry the scorzonera and cut into pieces the size of a small finger. Add to the pan, stir and fry gently for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir again, adding the stock. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, checking occasionally that it is not catching. When the scorzonera is cooked, check the amount of liquid – you need about 400 – 425 ml (14– 15 fl oz). Pour the egg and lemon mixture all over the top and allow the sauce to thicken for 2–3 minutes before serving hot as a light second course. It also makes an excellent accompaniment to sliced, boiled meat.

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