Basic Burdock and Salsify

Burdock and salsify look quite similar, and are frequently confused and mislabeled. I find, when correctly labeled, salsify has a subtler taste than burdock. Burdock, also known as gobo (the Japanese for it), has a more assertive, “root-ier” taste.


Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 pound burdock root
2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken, or a combination of stock and water)
1 clove of garlic, peeled, split, and de-germed
1 good-sized sprig of thyme


Add the lemon juice to just enough water to hold the burdock when peeled and cut.

Peel the burdock and cut into 2 1/2 inch long pieces. Drop these into the acidulated water.

Put the stock into a saucepan that will hold the burdock without them getting lost. Add the garlic and thyme, then the burdock. Pour in half the lemon water, or just add a fresh squeezing of juice from the other half lemon.

Bring the pan to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook 20- 30 minutes or until the burdock is tender. (Salsify is less predictable and requires more frequent checking. It goes from almost done to mush in minutes.  Gently simmer and start checking after 15 minutes)

Remove the vegetables from the pan when tender, and reduce any remaining liquid to form a light glaze.

Return the vegetables to the pan and toss to coat.

At this point, salsify is ready to eat as is, and burdock is ready to go into a dish with other ingredients. Salsify goes well with fish, chicken, artichokes, asparagus, or a combination of the above.

Burdock pairs well with whole grains and mushrooms.

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