I first fell in love with salsify when working at a French Restaurant in San Francisco. The edible root portion most commonly served in restaurants, looks like a dirty tree branch but when properly prepared, has an extremely unique flavor and texture that closely resembles a cross between parsnip and potato. A member of the sunflower family, salsify is a tuber that can be used just like any other common root vegetable.
To prep salsify, use a flat peeler, removing the "bark like" outer coating. You will be using the same technique as discussed in our video on How To Peel A Carrot, using rapid fluid movements running the peeler down the length of the salsify while rotating it a few degrees with each new pass.
From here, I like to cut the salsify into manageable chunks, but in all honesty, you can leave it whole if it better suites your purpose. Place the peeled salsify in cold water that is slightly acidulated with lemon juice to prevent oxidation.
Salt the water just as you would when blanching any other root vegetable, (the water should taste slightly less salty then sea water), and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, place the entire pot into a clean sink, run cold water into the pot for about 2-3 minutes, and then fill with an ice bath.
This salsify is now ready to be sautéd, roasted, grilled, etc., and goes great with just about any type of protein, especially beef and lamb.