Growing up, I associated rutabagas (which my grandmother called “neeps”) with wax. The supermarket variety of this large, yellow relative of the turnip, was traditionally coated with wax, which I guess kept them from rotting. Actually, what I think it did was preserve them for so long that they grew old, pungent and stunk like bad cabbage when cooked. When I started receiving them from the Farm, our local CSA, my impression was transformed. Now I roast them, braised them, mash them by themselves or mixed with potatoes or carrots. One of the signature dishes of the Union Square Café in New York is mashed rutabagas topped with frizzled shallots, which is what I made here from my still-abundant stash of shallots from the Farm. Thinly sliced onions or leeks would also do.
When making rutabagas for mashing, you can cook them in abundant water, like potatoes, or you can braise them in a little salted water, which is what I did. After mashing, I added a tiny dab of butter for flavor, plus salt and pepper. For the frizzled shallots, onions or leeks, heat vegetable oil and a little butter in a small but deep pot. When hot, add the vegetables and cook until just starting to brown. (This burns easily, so as soon as it colors, pay close attention.) Remove to a paper towel to cool and crisp.
Categories: Leeks, Onions, Turnips and rutabagas
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