First, a long convoluted Google search consisting of these terms:
"Long dirty vegetable" - fail. (Though surprisingly PG results, all things considered.)
"Identify root vegetables" - fail. (Though I finally sorted out the difference between turnips and rutabagas. I think.)
Then, I spoke to Google like it was a real person:
"Please tell me what are these unusual dirt covered vegetables".
I guess Google is old-school, and rewards manners.
Anyways, salsify are long roots from the dandelion family that, upon peeling away the dirt, skin, and sap, reveal a white flesh that have been described as "poor man's asparagus", and "oyster-y". Most recipes I brought up suggested making a blended soup out of it, and since that seems to be the general go-to for mystery/blah foods (at least in my kitchen...and on Chopped), we set out on this path. The Kid did all the stripping, and then I chopped them up and threw them in a pot with some onions.
15 minutes passed.
And then everything changed.
Their texture and simple flavour convinced us to spare them the fate of the immersion blender. Instead, I threw in some carrots for colour and extra crunch, mashed up some beans and pesto (to appease my need to smush something), and smothered it all with a piece of salmon (baked with wild boar sausage).
I'd definitely buy salsify again if I could find it in stores!