Salsify frittelle: an ambidextrous side, if you will. A vegetable recipe that tastes of the season but also embraces the themes of the holidays.
Salsify— also known as the “oyster plant,” for its somewhat oyster-like taste— is a root vegetable of the dandelion family. The plant looks like parsnip or horseradish but is longer and slender. It has dark brown skin and white flesh and tastes somewhat like sunchokes or artichoke hearts. It can be boiled, mashed or creamed for a soup and is available from late summer through February.
The literal translation of frittelle is fritters or pancakes. In the northern Italian region of Veneto, frittelle are served as a snack with a glass of wine before dinner. During this time of year, frittelle sometimes are better known as latkes.
The true origin of the latke is from Sicily where Jewish communities made pancakes of ricotta. The potato latkes popular today were an invention of the spud-rich Jewish communities of northern Europe during the 1300s.
This variety of salsify fritters is quickly fried in olive oil then baked in the oven to finish cooking. The earthiness of the salsify and the aromatics of the herbs make the perfect savory patty for the holiday table.
Like the traditional new year’s cottecchino with lentils, the literal roundness of this dish also makes it perfect for a New Year’s Eve celebration. It is, quite simply, the all-purpose fall holiday dish.