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Salsify - and where to find it

I don't think I've ever seen this vegetable in the supermarkets or a greengrocers, although I know it's grown here. Does anyone know if there's a regular supply for any of the supermarkets.

Reason for asking is that we spotted tinned salsify at Carrefour in Calais and brought a couple back. Opened the first one tonight and was very disppointed with the bland, almost non-existant, taste - something akin to those tinned white asparagus you always get in Spanish restaurant salads.

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  1. I've seen it once in Unicorn, Chorlton - don't know how often it's there, but definitely worth ringing them.

    1. My local sainsbury's sometimes has it in - they seem to have expanded their range of "exotic" veg recently. Not very useful for you though, Harters.

      3 Replies
      1. re: abby d

        Can I ask where that is? I really like fresh salsify, and basically only ever see it at the greengrocer at Maltby Street. I would expect our giant local Morrisons, which stocks a good range of exotic veg (krachai! Mizuna) but I've never seen it there.

        I tried the tinned stuff for the first time in France a month ago. It wasn't great, but perhaps better than nothing. Better than canned asparagus, I thought.

        Don't be fooled by black radish, which can look superficially similar.

        1. re: lacemaker

          i'm in Lewisham, SE London - it was the Lee Green store that had it and that seems to be broadening what it stocks.

          how do you like it lacemaker? i think i've only ever served it with browned butter.

          1. re: abby d

            I mostly just roast it, occasionally I'll boil it first - I've never got my hands on enough of it to justify messing around with it, but I assume you could do anything you would do with a parsnip, which makes me wonder about grating for rosti, mashing and puréeing with cream for a savory ice cream.

            The canned stuff I tossed in a salad with frisee and anchovies. As I say, nothing special.

      2. I've seen it in Waitrose, but not regularly.

        Less usefully for you, I've also seen it at one of the greengrocers in the Covered Market here in Oxford.

        1. I've seen it at Borough Market and at Maltby Street.

          1. Do you have a local green grocer who would order it for you? I remember seeing it in Waitrose as well but can't remember he often.

            2 Replies
            1. re: PhilD

              Unfortunately not, Phil. The village greengrocer went the way of many village greengrocers about five years back.

              Upthread johnlevon mentions the Unicorn, which is only a few minutes drive, and could be a good bet. They are a vegetarian co-operative and often have small quantities of unusual veg (and usually organic).

              1. re: Harters

                Harters, I can definitely get it in the local "ethnic" green grocers. I don't know if it's particularly used in eastern cuisine or just that he stocks a lot of things. I take it Morrison's doesn't have it as I know that our local one has an amazing range of fresh produce.