3 Ways to Use Kohlrabi, Cabbage’s Cousin
By Nancy Stiles
A cousin of cabbage, kohlrabi can be eaten cooked or raw and comes in green and purple varieties. Chefs love it for its crunchy texture and hint of spice.
Bixby’s executive chef William Volny is excited to bring back kohlrabi this month in several preparations at the lunch-and-brunch spot inside the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis. Kohlrabi “scallops” replace the restaurant’s popular seasonal root veggie tart: Volny cuts the kohlrabi a little bigger than a normal scallop, sears it in butter on both sides and finishes it in the oven, as it’s a little dense. The “scallops” sit atop a butter bean-kohlrabi purée in a housemade tart crust, topped with braised kale, capers, lemon and a drizzle of parsley oil. They’re served with quinoa, roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts and a red- and green-kohlrabi slaw in a tarragon vinaigrette. “It absorbs a lot of flavors around it so you can work with it and make it taste differently,” he says. Volny also made kohlrabi fritters for the brunch Benedict this spring; look for that to make a comeback in the fall.
Bixby’s, 5700 Lindell Blvd., at the Missouri History Museum, Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.361.7313, bixbys-mohistory.com
Chef-owner James Martin takes pride in showcasing local vegetables on the menu at Gilardi’s Ristorante in Springfield, Missouri’s historic downtown, especially those he grows himself in the restaurant’s two gardens. He recently planted kohlrabi that he’ll harvest in the spring, but for now, his kohlrabi Parmesan is made from veggies sourced from local farmers’ markets. Martin starts by making kohlrabi patties that are breaded in a basil-oregano panko blend and then seared in clarified butter. He tops the patties with fresh marinara and mozzarella before finishing them in the oven. “I wanted to do something different with kohlrabi, and that just came out,” Martin says. “I think a couple glasses of wine probably helped me, as well!” He says customers often come into Gilardi’s asking what to do with produce they see at the farmers’ market but aren’t sure how to cook at home, like kohlrabi. “If you’re a new cook or someone who hasn’t cooked with [kohlrabi] before, just follow the recipe, and it’s very easy.”
Gilardi’s Ristorante, 820 E. Walnut St. Suite A, Springfield, Missouri, 417.862.6400,gilardisonwalnut.com
The Maine Course
Each week, chef-owner Kevn Minnick gets between 40 and 60 pounds of fresh seafood delivered to The Maine Course in Quincy, Illinois. “Whatever we buy, we buy,” he says, whether it’s a whole, 25-pound octopus, geoduck clams or Copper River coho salmon, the latter of which ran as a recent special. The whole fish was served with a green pepper-eggplant couscous and topped with a salad of kohlrabi, heirloom tomatoes, pomegranate drinking vinegar and Hawaiian-smoked sea salt. The kohlrabi was peeled, julienned and served raw, though Minnick “crisped it up” first in some ice water. “The only things we don’t make in house are ketchup, bread and mustard,” he says. “We make everything else.” Minnick says he takes an artistic approach to food – he has a degree in ceramics from Oklahoma State University – but he doesn’t like to call The Maine Course fancy, as he’s a “shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops kind of guy.” Don’t let that fool you: Snag a spot at the chef’s table for a one-of-a-kind meal or sample one of the 215 bottles of whiskey on offer.
The Maine Course, 626 Maine St., Quincy, Illinois, 217.222.6244,mainecoursequincy.com