Friday, May 06, 2005


Roasted Rutabaga Salad

I was in trouble and I knew it. My face gave it away. I didn’t like what I was tasting. The second I started to chew, I knew…in the grand tradition of culinary duplicity I had been offered “Swede,” and I fell right into the trap. It was a gorgeous day, and I was with several Brits, feasting on Sunday Dinner, (which is actually lunch…silly Brits) when I found myself voluntarily eating mashed rutabaga. It was a basic concoction of butter and the vegetable, but somehow it was lacking, well, flavor. The Brits were confused by my reaction, declaring the entire dish by turns brilliant or lovely. I thought otherwise, and decided this week to find a way to prepare this funky vegetable in a way I would find more palatable.

Rutabaga is a tricky thing. Closely related to turnips, it is a touch sweeter, more fiberous and has an earthy root vegetable taste with a less pronounced bitterness.

The natural reaction to a root vegetable is to coat it in sugar or to bring out the natural sugars already present. I chose to do both, sort of. Rumaging though my bottomless cupboard I came up with a jar of wildflower honey that I thought would go perfectly, and I would roast it after a quick par boil so the natural sugars could also come out. Since it really isn’t root vegetable weather, I would lighten the entire dish and make it a warm side salad, making it tasty light dish with an usual vegetable. This is what I came up with and I think it was a sensational. Try it and enjoy.

3 large rutabaga (Or, if you insist, swede)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup apple juice
4 tablespoons honey
Tiny pinch of nutmeg
Coarse salt and pepper
1 lemon
1 large cup flat leaf parsley, rinsed and torn
2 cups lettuce greens (I used watercress)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet or large casserole dish with parchment or foil.

Next, peel the rutabaga and dice it into large cubes. Boil in salted water until it can be easily pierced with a knife, about eight minutes. Drain and toss in a bowl with the butter, juice, honey and nutmeg. The heat of the rutabagas should melt the butter. Stir round and make sure everything is coated. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and arrange into a single layer and season liberally with the salt and pepper. There will be a lot of liquid. Bake in the oven, stirring once, until just browned. Depending on your oven this may take up to 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the remaining liquid, taste and adjust seasonings. Toss with the lettuce greens and serve immediately.

Serves four


The rutabaga or swede (Brassica napobrassica) is a root vegetable closely related to the turnip "Rutabaga" (from dialectal Swedish rotabagge) is the American term, "Swede" is the British term. It is also known as the "Swedish turnip" or "yellow turnip", and Scots call it "neep" or just "turnip" — the vegetable known elsewhere as a turnip being called a "white turnip" in Scotland. The swede is native to Sweden, and was introduced into Scotland. From there, it spread to the rest of Britain and to North America. It is largely unknown in continental Europe. –Absolute

Wildlife officials arrested nine people in Northern California on Thursday on suspicion of illegally possessing and selling white sturgeon caviar. White sturgeon are prized for their eggs, or roe, which are processed for caviar.

The fish, found in the Sacramento River and the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River, can produce roe equal to 10% to 20% of their body weight.California does not allow the commercial catch and sale of sturgeon. Fish between 46 and 72 inches long can be caught for sport.

7 men are facing felony charges of conspiring to buy and sell the fish for up to $140 a pound, authorities said. Three are facing misdemeanor charges for the illegal commercialization of white sturgeon.

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