A global favorite yet barely known in this country, kohlrabi is a rather sweet vegetable with a mild, broccoli-like flavor. When it's quickly cooked and then pureed, it can become a creamy (if cream-free) canvas for delicate, sweet enoki mushrooms and crunchy, salty peanuts. Talk about juxtapositions and contrasts! That said, the best things in this dish may well be the grilled scallions. Their smoky sweetness ties these other, earthier ingredients together -- especially once they're spiked with sambal oelek, a fiery condiment.
1. Trim the stems off the kohlrabi, peel them, and cut them into quarters. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the kohlrabi and boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the kohlrabi to a food processor (reserve the cooking water). Add the salt to the kohlrabi and cool for a few minutes. Then puree the kohlrabi, adding just enough of the cooking water through the tube to make a silky puree -- not so thin that it runs, but about like a minimally grainy sauce, a puree that holds its shape like a soft, slightly runny whipped cream. Less liquid is better.
3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the scallions until marked and soft, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a platter; maintain the heat under the grill pan.
4. Grill the mushrooms just until barely softened, less than 1 minute, without turning. Transfer to the platter with the scallions.
5. To serve, divide the kohlrabi puree among 8 small serving plates. Top with scallions and mushrooms, all grill-marked sides up. Sprinkle with the peanuts. Whisk the oil and sambal in a small bowl. Drizzle on top.
Reprinted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough. Copyright (c) 2014 by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.