Salsify, also known as “oyster plant” for its oyster-like flavor, grows like carrots and parsnips.
Peel salsify roots and immediately place in pan of cold water to cover. Pour 4 cups cold water into soup kettle. Slice roots thinly, one at a time, and add to kettle. Add bay leaf and onion. Simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes. Melt butter in small saucepan. Over low heat, blend in flour with whisk, stirring, and pour in milk. Stir until mixture is smooth. Add to kettle along with salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and heat thoroughly. For Cream of Salsify Soup: Grate salsify before cooking and proceed as above. Beat together ¼ cup cream and yolk of 1 egg, and add to soup at end of cooking time.