La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Scorzoneras or Black Salsify


It conjures up sweet memories of childhood.
My parents owned a shop of electrical appliances in the sixties and first part of the seventies. Behind the shop was my father's workshop where he did repairs, and going through the hallway at the back of the house was a large kitchen, which was my mother's domain.
It was there that she used to prepare the scorzoneras, while I often sat in the sittingroom upstairs, already hooked on TV.  No, I wasn't hooked on TV, there was no broadcasting around the clock as there is today and my father wouldn't have allowed it.  Probably I was just playing with my dolls, reading or drawing. 
Anyway, I digress.
I remember the almost, coal black roots that my mother peeled, to uncover a lovely, ivory coloured spear.  Her hands became very sticky and black (or that is how I remembered it) and I had a fascination for this vegetable, because of it.



She cut them into 3 cm pieces, cooked them in boiling water and served them with a bechamel sauce, seasoned with freshly grated nutmeg, pepper and some salt.
I loved their nutty flavour.
They must have gone out of fashion as time went by, because you could hardly find them in their fresh state at the grocer's or supermarkets anymore.  Unless, you went for the jarred version . 
It's what I usually do, to my shame. I have jars of scorzoneras in my pantry, as an emergency standby.
Now, I have thought of having them in the garden, but they have a long growing season and consequently occupy their space for good part of the year. I am about to order seeds and I'll make some  space to home these lovely winter vegeables.
Luck would have it that since living not far from my cousin, she and her husband sometimes supply us with homegrown produce and a while back she gave me some fresh scorzoneras.  Lovely.


I prepared them very simple by peeling, boiling for 10 minutes or so till al dente, then sautee in a knob of butter, dress with a splash of lemon juice, seasoning and chopped fresh parsley.


Sit them in cold water with some lemon juice when peeled, they will discolour otherwise.



How wonderfully tasty



Thank you for reading.
Patricia xxx...x

3 comments:

  1. Een lekkere vergeten groente. Ik heb het ooit één keer in mijn leven vers klaargemaakt en het vuil heeft van mijn handen moeten slijten. Toen was ik nog niet zo slim om handschoenen te dragen voor zo'n karweitjes. Enfin, nadien is het altijd Iglo geweest.

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  2. It wonderful how food conjures up memories of our childhood.

    How lucky to be given some scorzoneras. I've never ever seen them here either at the grocers or supermarkets, the only way I think I'll get to try them is to grow them (One day). I have to admit it looks simply good. I wish i could try some.

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  3. @mangocheeks,
    I think of the food/childhood memories link as Nigel Slater moments :-D)
    If you have enough space in your garden, go for it. I am about to order seeds from the organic gardening catalogue.

    @MyriamC, haha, I don't wear marigolds, so my hands are the most abused parts of my body (except maybe my lungs .....ssshh !)

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