Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rooting for Rutabagas

I like to eat in season, to a certain extent. This time of year, that means root vegetables. Or the dog, and I'd have to wash him first.

The last time I went to the grocery, my eye fell upon the rutabagas.

As I learned when I was researching the Culinary Chronicles column I used to write for World Wide Recipes, the rutabaga is said to be a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip, and one can't help but wonder who decided this would be a good idea. I like cabbage and I like turnips, but enough is enough.

The rutabaga first surfaced in the 17th Century in Europe, where the Swedes called it rotabagge and everybody else called it swedes--except the Scots, who call it neeps. Apparently, although the rutabaga is part cabbage and part turnip, one cooks it like a potato. The Scots cook it with potato, calling the resulting dish "tatties and neeps".

So I got this rutabaga, and I can't say the raw product looked particularly promising. My cookbooks all said things like, "You might prefer turnips" and--I am not making this up--"a little rutabaga goes a long way", but I finally found one that actually suggested cooking and eating the thing.

I peeled it, cut it into cubes and boiled it in salty water. Then I drained it and put in some butter and some cream and stirred and stirred.

The cream thickened and coated the rutabaga with rich sauce. Charlie and I decided it tasted a lot like turnips, but not really. It wasn't bad, and it was better last night when it wasn't a new taste. We have enough for another go; I'm thinking I'll dump it into some soup. I think it'll be excellent in soup.

I'm going to try tatties and neeps, next time I get a rutabaga, if only because I get a charge out of saying it.

Marian Allen

1 comment:

Marion said...

Marian, I have NO idea what this is, really not a clue haha. Let me know how the soup tasted? :D