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by Rose Elliot
Salsify is a long, slim root with a dark skin and creamy white flesh within, and scorzorena is similar. If you can't find either of these, you could use canned salsify. Either way, the texture and flavor are delicate and delicious.
Preparation 30 minutes
Cooking 20 minutes
• 1 lb 8 oz salsify or scorzonera
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• flour for coating
• 3/4 dried bread crumbs
• canola or peanut oil for deep-frying
• salt and pepper, to taste
• lemon wedges, to serve
For the caper cream
• 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons sour cream or creme fraiche
• 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1. Wearing gloves to protect your hands (the juice can stain), peel the salsify or scorzonera under a cold running tap, cut it into about 1 1/4 inch lengths and put in a saucepan of water containing 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Don't worry if you can't remove all the skin—some tiny flecks don't matter.
2. Boil the pieces in the water for about 10 minutes, or until tender, then drain and add the remaining lemon juice, the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and some salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, make the caper cream. Mix the mayonnaise with the sour cream or creme frafche and capers and season with salt and pepper.
4. Dip each piece of salsify or scorzonera into the beaten egg, then into flour, then into the egg again and finally into the bread crumbs, to coat all over.
5. Heat the oil to 350-375°F, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds, and deep-fry the coated pieces for about 3 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve at once, garnished with lemon wedges and accompanied by the caper cream.
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