Around the greengrocer's shops from time to time often appear various types of unusual vegetables. Most People don't know what they are and so tend to pass them by for the better known ones.
Some information on these unusual vegetables may be helpful in persuading the housewife to purchase them for occasional variety.
Leeks, known as the aristocrat of the onion family, perhaps because they do not taint the breath, are available most of the year except in the hot weather. Boiled or braised, cut up raw in salads or used in a leek and potato soup they have a delicate flavor which later earned them the title of "Poor man's asparagus."
Capsicums or peppers (the big bell variety) are available here all the year round. They are richer in Vitamin C than any other vegetable, having in the cooked state seven times the amount of this vitamin contained in an orange, while uncooked, nine times the amount.
They are prepared by removing the stalks and central core to which the seeds are attached. They can then be sliced in decorative rings for salads or garnishes, and their bright color and crisp texture add interest and variety.
They are delicious stuffed with creamed fish, or leftover minced cooked meat moistened with gravy or tomato puree, or any other savory mixture. They can then be topped with bread crumbs, dotted with butter and baked in a moderate oven for half an hour or until the breadcrumbs are browned.
The small cucumber-shaped marrows which are seen in the shops from about spring to the beginning of winter are zucchinis. They are delicious thinly sliced with the skin left on and cooked till tender in a covered saucepan with a little oil, and a sliced onion and tomato.
Egg plants are the coconut shaped vegetables with the black shiny, skin. They are available from spring till the beginning of winter and are tasty cut up and fried in oil either, plain or with a batter.
Another unusual vegetable is the curly leafed endive. This is seen around the shops most of the year except during the very hot or very cold weather, it is sold in bunches and has a leaf like a very frilled lettuce. It is a good substitute for lettuce in a salad and it can also be cooked.
Kohlrabi is a turnip-shaped vegetable, purple in color and tastes rather like a swede. It is available most of the year except in the hot weather.
The vegetable or fruit which makes a delicious entree is the avocado. It has a high fat content so is better served with a rather vinegary French dressing. Although rather expensive it is very tasty for special occasions. It can be served either well-seasoned on bread with sea foods, especially prawns and crab, or dipped in lemon juice or white vinegar and seasoned and served with salads.
If these vegetables are too unusual in their flavor alone some of them can be combined.
Chop up a leek, a pepper a zucchini, and an eggplant with an onion and a few mushrooms if desired, season well, and fry gently in oil. This can be served as an entree or with an egg dish or a grill and makes a delicious different and quite nutritious savory.