Saturday, February 27, 2010


Spring will be here soon.

I should be excited. Asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, peas!

And the promise of summer and tomatoes to come.

Best of all, a break from root vegetables. Everyone keeps talking about how they're sick to death of root vegetables right now.

Granted, I might feel differently about bidding goodbye to winter if I lived in the frozen, snow-blanketed East.

But the truth is, I'm not that eager for spring. I'm kind of enjoying hanging out with all these root vegetables, and I'm not really looking forward to leaving them behind. Not now when I feel like I'm just getting to know them.

I guess I've developed a strange new ambition--I'd like to become a maven of unpopular vegetables.

See how pretty they can be?

Here's a simple preparation for those rutabagas above. The recipe is from a January New York Times article by Melissa Clark. She describes cooking rutabagas for the first time, roasting them, and writes that they were "so good, in fact, that I couldn’t stop eating the cubes straight from the pan."

I read that and I thought: Sign me up!

Clark combines her rutabagas with farro and ricotta salata cheese for a hearty winter salad. Which sounds fantastic and is on my list to try--but I just roasted them up and put them over some pan-fried cakes made from leftover pilaf (I'll have that recipe for you soon as well).

Or you could just eat the rutabaga straight from the pan. Roasted, it's sweet and soft, with just enough bite underneath to remind you you're not eating dessert.

Roasted Rutabagas
Recipe from Melissa Clark

1 1/2 lb rutabagas
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Turn on the oven to 400 F. While the oven heats, peel the rutabagas and cut them into 3/4-inch cubes. In a large baking dish, toss the rutabaga pieces with the remaining ingredients. Put them in the oven and roast, stirring once or twice, until they are caramelized in spots and very soft, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

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