Salsify is in the sunflower family and is a mild and versatile winter vegetable. It is sometimes referred to as Oyster Plant as some find it reminiscent in flavor to oysters. It was popular in Victorian Times and was first cultivated in the 1500s in Italy and France and is still more readily consumed in Europe. It is similar to Burdock though a bit more delicate.
There are black and white varieties but in both cases the flesh is pale and creamy. The skin needs to be peeled, either before or after cooking. The flesh oxidizes quickly once peeled so cook them right away or soak in acidulated water–water to which you’ve added lemon juice or vinegar.
Salsify has a mild and slightly nutty flavor a bit akin to artichokes or jerusalem artichokes. It can be steamed, boiled, roasted or sauteed. It’s a nice addition to soups, is delicious steamed and then mashed by itself or with other roots or boiled and then dressed with a tangy vinaigrette. When young and tender it can also be enjoyed raw, thinly sliced in salads.