You gotta love a food that sounds like a dance, a raunchy one at that. Actually, rutabagas are pretty tame, like a potato, and they have a culinary vocabulary in common: gratins, purees and soup.
Rutabagas are in season, a reason to celebrate for those who eagerly await their return each fall. We’re growing them in our garden and they’re just now ready for harvesting; you’ll find them at farmer’s markets during the next few weeks. Traditionally they’re harvested in the fall and then waxed in order to preserve through the winter. Another Brassica, rutabagas are supposedly a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. Are they a very very close cousin to the turnip? Seems so. They’re also known as Swedish, wax or yellow turnips. (Poppy’s previous post, Getting Down to Brassicas, provides more in-depth brassica information.)
When cooked and pureed they’re silky smooth, earthy in flavor, and slightly sweet like a carrot. Comfort food. Use rutabagas in gratins along with potatoes and in soups to liven and add depth of flavor, or on their own.
This puree is simple and elegant:
Peel and cube rutabagas/ 4 – 5 medium sized will serve four/ boil in salted water until tender/ drain and place back in the pan for mashing or into a food processor/ mash by hand or process, gradually adding warmed milk, cream or buttermilk until consistency is of a soft puree/ stir in a little cheese if you like, gruyere, cheddar or blue are especially good. Not too much though or the rutabaga essence is lost.
A little obscure, but this is a root vegetable worth discovering. We had the luscious puree with steamed rutabaga greens and a piece of salmon from Loki fish. Bon appetite.
Wikipedia, Rutabaga: Prior to pumpkins being readily available in the UK and Ireland (a relatively recent development), swedes/rutabagas were hollowed out and carved with faces to make lanterns for Halloween. Often called “jack o’lanterns”, or “tumshie lanterns” in Scotland, they were the ancient symbol of a damned soul.