River Cottage 2009

Salsify and scorzonera gratin recipe

You know winter has arrived when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cooks up these delicious root vegetables on a bed of breadcrumbs

Watch Hugh making the salsify gratin recipe

Serves 4


  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 salsify roots
  • 4 scorzonera roots
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 35g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 25g plain flour
  • 200ml double cream
  • 75g grated cheddar or other hard, well-flavoured cheese
  • 50g coarse, white breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


How to make salsify and scorzonera gratin

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6 and generously butter a gratin dish - about 26cm in length.

2. Put the lemon juice into a large bowl and add two or three times as much water. Peel all the roots and cut into batons about 4 x 1cm, dropping them straight into the lemony water to stop them discolouring.

3. When all the roots have been prepared, drain them and put them in a saucepan with the vegetable stock and wine. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes - until the roots are tender but still with a bit of bite. Drain, reserving the stock, and set aside. Return the stock to the pan and simmer until reduced by half.

4. Meanwhile, mash the soft butter and flour together with a fork. When the stock has reduced by half, keep it simmering and start sprinkling in the flour paste, in little nuggets, whisking all the time. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens to the consistency of single cream. Add the double cream and remove from the heat.

5. Lay the root batons in the gratin dish. Pour over the thickened stock. Combine the grated cheeses with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

© River Cottage

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Wednesday 18 November 2009
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