“Kohl-whatta?” That was my response to my brother a few years ago when he asked what he should do with all the kohlrabi his mother-in-law had brought from her farm. While I had cooked many things and felt pretty well-versed in the kitchen, this vegetable was a new one for me. So perhaps it was serendipity that just a month later, Scott Crawford invited Chef Hugh Acheson to Raleigh to celebrate the opening of Crawford’s new restaurant and the release of Acheson’s new cookbook, The Broad Fork. This new cookbook, as luck would have it, was all about how to prepare the common and uncommon fruits and vegetables that one might receive in a CSA box or find at the local farmer’s market. And the inspiration for such a book? According to Acheson, it was a neighbor approaching him to ask, “What the hell do I do with kohlrabi?”
Looking back on that dinner, I realize now that it was a turning point for my culinary life. I purchased Acheson’s book that night and have turned to it countless times since. For me, his recipes and methods have aligned squarely with the “growing edges” of my own cooking skills development. I’ve been challenged, delighted, and inspired to really rekindle my life in the kitchen. It was the rediscovery and deepening of that joy around cooking that eventually led to me deciding to start this blog. I hope you can find your own version of joy in the cooking (and eating!) process or, at the very least, now know what to say when someone asks you, “What can I make with kohlrabi?” The answer? These Kohlrabi Fritters with Kohlrabi Greens Slaw.
- 1 bulb of kohlrabi (can be white or purple, doesn’t matter)
- 1 small lemon
- 1 spring onion, diced.
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp ground dry mustard
- 1 tsp chopped parsley
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 large kohlrabi leaves
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg
- Grapeseed Oil, or another neutral oil like Canola or Vegetable Oil
- Optional toppings: N’duja, ketchup, or hot sauce (see below*)
Trim leaves from kohlrabi bulb and set aside. Trim outer tough skin from kohlrabi bulb and discard. Tip: You’ll want to trim the bulb with a knife – a vegetable peeler won’t be sharp enough. Cut bulb into quarters and then grate on the larger holes of a cheese grater. Place grated kohlrabi into a clean dish towel or cheesecloth and gather ends of cloth together to squeeze excess water from the kohlrabi. Place dried kohlrabi into a medium-sized bowl. Cut small lemon into halves and squeeze lemon juice over grated kohlrabi. Stir to evenly coat.
Wash and dry one of the large leaves (or 2 smaller leaves) from the kohlrabi plant. Use your fingers to strip the leaf away from tough center stalk. Discard stalk. Roll up the leaf and slice into thin strips, about ¼ inch wide. Then chop a bit more if strips are long. The ideal size is 1 inch by ¼ inch strips, but they don’t need to be precise. [Note: If you have children or other diners that won’t eat greens, you can omit this ingredient from the fritters. They’ll look like potato/hash brown pancakes when cooked and your picky eater might very well be none the wiser!]
Stir chopped leaf into grated kohlrabi. Add onion, garlic, flour, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and salt and pepper and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Add egg mixture to grated kohlrabi mixture and stir to combine.
Put a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl pan around to coat the bottom. You are looking for a thin, shimmering layer of oil over the entire base of the pan, so add a little more oil if necessary. Once you see that the oil is shimmering and hot (should only take 30-60 sec), it is ready. Scoop out a large spoonful (~ ¼ cup) of kohlrabi mixture and form into a thin, round patty (like a burger). Gently place into pan. Repeat with additional mixture until the pan is at capacity but there is still some room around each patty (you don’t want them sticking together and want a little space so you can flip them). Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the underside is golden brown. You can press down on the top of each patty slightly with your spatula if you like.
Once the bottom is cooked, flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. You may need to swirl the pan to redistribute some of the oil. Once patties are cooked through and golden brown on each side, use your spatula to remove patties to a plate lined with a paper towel. Check pan and add a little additional oil if needed. Once hot and shimmering again, repeat process with remaining kohlrabi mixture. You should have 8-10 patties at the end of the cooking process.
I like to eat these with Kohlrabi Slaw and, if I’m feeling fancy, something I’ve dubbed “adult ketchup”. This fancy addition is N’duja – it’s a spicy pork spread that adds a nice tomato acidity and spicy kick. Its origins are the Calabrian region of Italy and as such, the paste gets its spice kick from Calabrian peppers. You can often find it in specialty foods stores or order it online. It’s shelf stable, but should be refrigerated after opening. (This is not a sponsored post, just trying to be helpful!)
It goes to reason that you could also serve these patties with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes (or just put a ¼ tsp in the batter before cooking) or hot sauce if you like your food to have a little kick. And if you’re making these for kids, they would make an excellent vehicle for tried-and-true regular ketchup.
Kohlrabi Greens Slaw
- 1 large kohlrabi leaf (or 2 smaller leaves)
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Zest of half of a lemon
- 1 tbs lemon juice (or juice of half of a lemon)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash and dry another of the large leaves (or a couple smaller leaves) from the kohlrabi plant. Use your fingers to strip the leaf away from tough center stalk. Discard stalk. Roll up the leaf and slice into thin strips, about ¼ inch wide. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, add cider, oil, lemon juice, and zest, and honey. Whisk together with a fork. Add a pinch of salt and pepper (or a few grinds of each if using grinders). Taste vinaigrette and add more salt and pepper if desired. Then pour dressing over sliced kohlrabi leaves and stir to combine. You want to make sure each leaf strip is coated in dressing – the mixing process (along with the oil and the acid from the vinegar and lemon juice) will help soften these bitter leaves and make them MUCH tastier. Set aside slaw and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes to further this softening process.
Serve alongside (or on top, or underneath) Kohlrabi Fritters.