Native to the Mediterranean, this knobby, gnarly vegetable, also called celery root, is a variety of celery selected for its large, starchy, root-like stem or hypocotyl. Once peeled, celeriac is comparable to a potato or turnip but with a strong aromatic flavor that makes for an elevated soup, purée, or gratin.
Shirako, which literally translates to “white children,” is a Japanese delicacy that consists of the sperm sacs of cod, angler, or puffer fish. The white blobs look a bit like brains, but taste delicately sweet and fishy, with a rich, custard-like texture. Shirako is served in a variety of ways, including raw, tempura-fried, grilled, and in soups.
A species of persimmon, black sapote – unrelated to mamey sapote or white sapote – is popular in Mexico and Central America. When ripe, the fruit is deep brown in color, with a taste and texture reminiscent of chocolate pudding. The unripe fruit, as with other persimmon varieties, is astringent and should be avoided.
These extremely sought-after mushrooms have a strange brain-like or honeycomb appearance, and an intensely savory, meaty flavor. As they cannot be cultivated and grow only during a short season in certain areas of the Northern Hemisphere, morels are a rare and expensive seasonal delicacy.
Popular in Japanese cuisine – and increasingly in Western cooking, for instance with pasta – the yellow-to-orange delicacy known as uni is actually the gonads from an edible variety of sea urchin. It has a deep, briney, umami flavor with a slight sweetness and a rich, custardy texture.
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