Photo: Danny Kim. Illustrations by John Burgoyne.

It’s not easy being a stem. You go through life supporting a family of leaves, buds, shoots, what have you, only to be separated from them in the end and unceremoniously tossed into the trash. Not so the radishlike kohlrabi, whose best part is a bulb that is, technically speaking, 100 percent stem. These tennis-ball-size brassicas are crisp, juicy, and delicately sweet and can be found in the spring and fall (currently at Greenmarket’s Queens County Farm Museum and Northshire Farms stands). They make a nifty substitute for cucumber in this tsatsiki recipe from Cafe Colette’s Charles Brassard.

Charles Brassard’s Kohlrabi Tsatsiki

4 medium kohlrabi
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs. salt
1 qt. Greek yogurt
2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 cup mint, roughly chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

(1) Cut the leaves off the kohlrabi, and save them for another use. (2) Peel away tough outer skin. (3) Cut bulbs into large pieces, and coarsely grate them. In a bowl, combine grated kohlrabi, chopped garlic, and tablespoon of salt and let sit for 15 minutes to draw out liquid. Strain or squeeze out liquid, and discard. Toss kohlrabi with yogurt, lemon juice, mint, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve as a side with grilled fish or meats, especially lamb.