Courtesy Rohani Foulkes, owner, Folk, Detroit
To those unfamiliar with kohlrabi, the knobby veg can look a bit extraterrestrial. Green or purple in color with a swollen, baseball-like bulb and slender stems that reach up into leaves, it’s not botanically a root at all, but part of the Brassicales order of flowering plants and related to cabbage. Still, many in the culinary world consider it a root and treat it accordingly.
Rohani Foulkes, owner of Folk, an all-day cafe turned takeaway window/market/catering business in Detroit, urges home cooks not to be intimidated by kohlrabi if they are confused by it. “Don’t be afraid of anything new, albeit, different,” she says. Requiring little more than slicing and tossing, her recipe shows how easy it can be to prepare.
- 4 medium sized kohlrabi bulbs
- 2 large Honeycrisp or other sweet, firm apples
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to finish
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves
- Lemon zest from ½ lemon
- Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup chèvre, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons hazelnuts, chopped
- 3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- ½ tablespoon toasted crushed coriander seeds
- Flaky sea salt, to taste
Peel kohlrabi. Use mandolin or sharp knife to slice very thin. Add kohlrabi to large bowl and toss with salt and lemon juice. Allow to sit for 5–10 minutes to soften.
Meanwhile, peel apples. Use mandolin or sharp knife to slice very thin. Add to bowl with kohlrabi, then add olive oil, tarragon, mint and zest. Toss gently to combine, and season with more salt, pepper and lemon juice, to taste.
Arrange kohlrabi and apples on platter and sprinkle with chèvre, nuts, seeds and flake salt. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately. Serves 4–6.
Despite its hazy appearance from being unfined and unfiltered, Christina 2019 Gruner Veltliner (Niederösterreich) maintains a silky mouthfeel and overarching clean character that Foulkes loves with this salad. “With a slightly sweet front and ripe, green finish, [it] complements the crisp texture of the…apple and kohlrabi, as well as the delicate chèvre,” she says.
Acid and body are essential considerations. Between the raw roots and apples, toasty seeds and buttery soft cheese, there are a lot of flavors and textures going on in this dish, so you’ll want to look for something that’s equally lively and distinct. A crunchy Pinot Noir from California’s Central Coast, where the ocean influence and fertile soils yield nuanced wines full of earthy fruits, would be a great choice. Try Lady of the Sunshine 2019 Chene Vineyard Pinot Noir from Edna Valley or Tyler 2018 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County.