Boiled or steamed: Cut into chunks, boil in salted water until tender, rinse under cold water and peel. Then melt a good slice of butter with about 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Gently fry a couple of crushed cloves of garlic in the mixture. Add the salsify, toss in the garlic mix and sprinkle with LOTS of parsley. Toss once cooked in a little cream or crème fraiche with a small amount of nutmeg.
Roasted: Toss the raw chunks in a little olive oil, season with a tablespoon of chopped thyme and roast for about half an hour in the oven at about 190°C/Gas 5. Roast them mixed with other root vegetables by cutting into wedges, tossing in a little oil, sprinkling with thyme and balsamic vinegar.
Salads: Cook in chunks until just tender and then dress while warm (not hot). Use either a fairly sharp vinaigrette (maybe 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ tbsp Dijon mustard, a pinch of caster sugar, salt and pepper), or a dressing made by combining half a finely chopped onion, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a couple of pinches of caster sugar. Whisk these together and then continue whisking while you add 3 tablespoon of olive oil and 3 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a very thin stream. Lots of chopped parsley is a good addition.
To make the salsify go further or make more of a meal, combine with mild salad leaves, beans (green, or cannellini or flageolet), leeks, chicken or eggs. Basically these roots combine best with mild flavours.
To prepare salsify or scorzonera, scrub well and peel with a sharp knife. Both types of root can be cut into short lengths and simmered for 10-20 minutes or until tender. The roots can then be sautéed in butter or served with lemon juice and chopped parsley. Alternatively, salsify and scorzonera can be mashed, puréed for use in soups or served cold with a simple vinaigrette.