PREPARING ROOT VEGETABLES
- Peel and chop early and you’ll have time left for other things
- Cold water can bring the springiness back
- Water and/or lemon preserve freshness
- Smaller bits are cooked more quickly
- Save the cooking liquid and the ends for a stew/bolognese
One tip is to prepare the vegetables for the meal first of all, leaving you time to do other things.
Springier in cold water
Root vegetables that have gone soft will regain some of their elasticity if you put them in cold water in the fridge. Leave them for 24 hours. No longer.
Peel far enough ahead
Make sure you’ve peeled your vegetables before your guests arrive on the doorstep, and put them in cold water while you’re waiting (the vegetables not the guests). Artichokes and black salsify need a few drops of lemon juice so they don’t discolor. Drain them on a cloth before baking in the oven, for example.
Smaller is quicker
If you want your root vegetables to be done more quickly, cut them into smaller pieces before cooking. Pieces that are too big will burn before they are cooked, e.g. in a deep fat fryer.
In a stew
Root vegetables create an excellent “fond”, literally meaning the base in kitchen French, which brings out the finest flavors of the meat. Most root vegetables work well, but carrots, celeriac, parsnips and parsley root are some of the most popular in classic slow cooking. And then you need to add some onion, leek and celery, of course.
Drying root vegetables
Dried root vegetables keep for a long time and work as crisps, snacks, garnish and as ingredients in stews and soups.
- Slice thinly, ideally with a mandoline.
- Dry in a warm oven at 50 to 75°C. Keep the door ajar.
- The chips need to be completely dry, it can take 24 hours.
- Think color and shape when using dried root vegetables as a garnish.
Purées and sauces
Root vegetables cooked until soft add flavor and body to purées and sauces. Cook in lightly salted water, leave to cool and purée with a hand-held blender. A dollop of crème fraîche and/or yoghurt makes it even better and adds more flavor.