Do you ever see something at the Market that you have never heard of before; and you have no idea what to do with it if you bought it? Our Market has such a wide variety of produce from various growers that you would be hard-pressed to recognize everything you see, let alone know how to use it. And fall seems to be prime season for those unrecognizable items. I have recently seen celeriac, salsify, sun chokes, and more! You may be enough of a foodie to know what to do with an item like fennel, but what about cardone?

Here, Chef Josh Horrigan of Anna Belle’s Garden gives us great ideas for using some of the more unusual produce you can find at the Market.

Salsify Au Gratin

  • 12-14 medium to large salsify roots
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 4 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated garlic
  • Panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese to top

Melt the butter and add flour to make a roux. Add milk in stages while stirring to form béchamel. Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper, and garlic. Blanch peeled whole salsify root in acidified salted water (lemon juice or vinegar); then shock in cold water. Place the blanched roots in a casserole and pour the béchamel over the top, then sprinkle with panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Roasted Sun Chokes

  • 10-12 large sun chokes
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • Sprig of thyme
  • One whole garlic clove
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Zest of one small orange

Peel the chokes and toss them in olive oil. Place in a cast iron skillet with the whole garlic clove and the herb springs, and oven roast for 30 minutes or so until tender (at 400 degrees). Finish off with a sprinkling of orange zest and sea salt.

Celeriac (Celery Root) and Parsnip Rollups

Roast celeriac and parsnips (tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper) on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then puree, mix with parmesan and ricotta (or any combination of soft and shredded hard cheese) one egg for binding, and season with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley to make a filling. Take a fresh pasta sheet and spoon the mixture across one end; then roll it up. Repeat to fill a baking dish; top with stewed tomatoes, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (This could also be a ravioli filling, filling for manicotti tubes, or be layered between lasagna noodles for a vegetarian lasagna.)

Cook and Serve Cardone 

Cardone looks like celery, but tastes like artichoke heart. Peel the thistles off the outer edges of the stalks with a knife or vegetable peeler. Blanch the stalks in salted acidified water (with lemon juice or vinegar). Serve with garlic butter, hummus, or lemon garlic aioli for dipping. I also heard Josh tell a customer that they could put a sea scallop between two short sections of cardone and wrap the whole thing with prosciutto for a dinner party she was planning. Very elegant!

Cook’s Note: Many of the unusual vegetables at the Market are autumn root vegetables. All of them can be steamed or roasted and then mashed or pureed, sliced and used in gratins, or diced for soups, and stews. They can all be made into chips or fries as well. These vegetables include parsnips, potatoes, carrots, celery root, turnips, rutabagas, and sweet potatoes. For example, substitute turnips and rutabagas for the celery root and parsnips in the rollup recipe.

Here are more delicious dishes using one of those unusual vegetables, celeriac, also known as celery root. It is available from Silverthorn Farm and Harvestland Farm.

Roasted Chicken with Celery Root and Onions

Shaved Celery Root Salad

Celery Root and Ginger Gold Apple Soup

Lacquered Short Ribs, Celery Root Puree, and Celery Pear Salad

French Lentils, Carmelized Celery Root, and Parsley

Celery Root and Apple Remoulade