They are the organ of the plant involved in absorb water and mineral salts from the earth, the roots. And they come out of the earth pale, these roots: white and bitter, unlike their cousins, the colorful sweet carrots – also roots, in fact, as indeed are the virtuous turnips or the anti-diabetic sweet potato. Even when tuberiformes (ie, pot-bellied like a carrot and not in the shape of a breadstick), should not be confused with tubers, such as Jerusalem artichoke or potato, naturally – which are substantially enlarged portions of the stem of the plant, with a reservoir function of glucose substances .
White roots loving, therefore. Often we see them on the market bench e let's turn our eyes. Too much love? Too difficult to clean? Too unknown to cook? Well, it's time to take them back! And then know it: there are no more roots than once. They too have adapted to modern tastes and nowadays they are less bitter, probably softened by climate change.
The most famous of the loving white roots is that of Soncino (CR) where for decades the Amara Root Festival has been promoted. It is the root of a variety of common chicory (Chicorium intybus, var. sativus). Its origin is probably Ligurian, and just in the province of Genoa grows another excellent variety (sativus Bischoff), locally called "chiavarina" (from the town of Chiavari). Although the most famous and valuable root is there salsify, brown outside, white inside, more flavorful sweet, sophisticated and delicate, delicious past in the pan, with butter, white wine and lemon. Or breaded to the Milanese! It is also comparable to the latter the gobo, which is nothing but the root of the burdock, highly appreciated in Japan and now return to us (while in France they use it asparagus type). Their sweetness allows you to use them greedily even as a filling of delicious savory pies.
But back to those a bit 'more bitter, since that bitter is all health … These roots were once very appreciated, above all for their medicinal value: they are one extraordinary depurative, for blood and for the intestine. Already the ancient Greeks and Romans used them. Undoubtedly they detoxify liver and kidney: just eat a portion to guess this their property! Not only that: they help the growth of the famous bacteria in the colon Bifidus – those we try to stimulate with some yoghurt, which avoid unwanted fermentation processes. They also help to absorb the iron: perfect therefore for those suffering from anemia.
How to treat them? The cleaning it can be a bit boring, but here's a trick: "Sacrifice" a kitchen sponge and the scratches with the rough part, this will simplify your life.
At this point they can boil: common heritage wants it to be good to add a little lemon and / or vinegar to the water. In fact, the suggestion, to do go away a bit 'bitter, is to put in the water a carrot cut into pieces.
They are eaten lukewarm or cold, seasoned typically with extra virgin olive oil, salt, lemon (and vinegar, if you like) and garlic. In Chiavari they also put the anchovy in oil, and the root becomes gourmet! They are perfect from combine to seconds of fat meatsbecause they "purged". Or you can later on au gratin, perhaps adding a sweet cheese.
Regarding conservation, it is good to put them in a plastic bag in the fridge to keep the humidity. But be careful, there's a big one the difference between the tuberform and bity-rooted white roots (like that of Soncino). While the former would not give impulse to a new plant, and therefore with the passing of the days wither, they collapse, the latter are 'live' and continue to 'work': the green tuft grows and blooms, the root can throw other radicles while she becomes ever harder, woody. Within a week will have the consistency of a bone! In fact 'the old' at the time when you really did not throw away anything, when they were already hard often boiled for a long time and then chisel away the now unusable part. Conclusion: eat them as soon as possible! Still some ideas on how? Vellutate, combining them and mixing them with homegrown, lovable potatoes. Or croquettes (maybe together with vegetables and flavors).
And finally, a note: country that you go, root that you find. The common denominator is that they are the 'white loving'. There are also less bitter (and less white!), Of course, like the ones mentioned above (scorzonera & c) or the parsnip, large, hard and sweet, a sort of white parsley a little parsley (to try for example crushed in oven-baked pie, with cream and eggs). And the Japanese daikon, More and more common also by us, a natural fat burner with a sharp and decisive flavor. Another common denominator is: they are all very poor in calories! But give a chance to those you love too, trust me, your body will thank you and your palate will have some surprises.
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