Recipe Courtesy Tom Colicchio from “Craft of Cooking: Notes and Recipes from a Restaurant Kitchen.”
Blonde Soffritto Base
Squeeze the lemon juice into a large bowl. Add the rinds and 6 cups of water. Peel the salsify, trim the ends, then cut each stalk into lengths about ½-inch thick and 2 ½-inches long. Place the salsify in the lemon water to keep it from browning.
Heat the soffritto in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste.
Crush the tomatoes and add them with their juices. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the flavours begin to meld, about 10 minutes. Drain the salsify and add it and ½ cup water to the skillet.
Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, turning the salsify from time to time, until it is tender, about 45 minutes (adding a little more water if the pan starts to look dry). Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.
Combine the onion, celery and carrot or fennel in a large high-sided skillet. Add the oil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are the colour of straw, about 45 minutes. Use immediately or cool then refrigerate for up 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months.
Note: Don’t scorch vegetables. Stir frequently and add ¼ cup of water to keep pan lubricated if vegetables are inclined to stick.