At the upscale Ravenswood brewpub Band of Bohemia, executive chef Ian Davis uses milk braising—a slow, low-heat cooking method typically used with pork or veal—for salsify, a starchy white root possessed of an earthy taste often likened to artichoke hearts. The result is an immoderately rich, silky vegetable side dish, brightened with chili and cilantro, that has only one drawback: It just might upstage the main course.

Ian Davis’s Milk-Braised Salsify

Serves:8 (as an appetizer)
Total Time:45 minutes
Active Time:25 minutes

2 cups Whole milk
1 cup Heavy cream
1 cup Sake
2 Medium stalks salsify, peeled and sliced into 2½-inch pieces
1 tsp. plus 1 cup Canola oil, divided
6 Large spring onions, white part removed
1 Green Thai chili, stemmed
1 cup Coconut milk
2 Tbsp. Freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp. Chopped cilantro

1. Combine milk, cream, and sake in a medium saucepan. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered, on medium-low heat until reduced by half, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, score one side of each piece of salsify. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to a large skillet over medium heat; add salsify and sear scored side until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Once the milk mixture is reduced, add the seared salsify and cook, covered, until just tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Thinly slice one spring onion and set aside for garnish.

5. In a blender, combine remaining spring onion, chili, and 1 cup canola oil, and blend on high until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Add the coconut milk and blend for 30 more seconds to emulsify.

6. To serve, place a few pieces of the salsify, scored side up, in the middle of a shallow bowl. Pour about ½ cup of the milk mixture around the salsify. Dribble a few tablespoons of the spring onion mixture around the bowl’s edge, and drizzle ¼ teaspoon lime juice over everything. Garnish with sliced green onion and cilantro. Repeat with seven more bowls and serve immediately.

Tip: Can’t find salsify? Sunchokes and parsnips make fine substitutes.