You may recall that one of my 2010 goals was to try five new vegetables. To date, I've tried kale, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. I think squash is in there too; I believe I was trying butternut squash earlier this year rather than at the end of last year.
This week, I ate a rutabaga.
This is a rutabaga:
This is also a rutabaga. In fact, it's the same rutabaga.
With any food-like substance, the question rapidly becomes: How do I eat it?
I realized after taking that photo how dirty it might turn out. I was not disappointed.
With any food-like substance, I also must check if the dog will eat it.
Come over here! Check out this rutabaga!
It's good! (maybe) You'll like it! I promise!
Although it looks like she is repulsed by the rutabaga, it's actually the flash on my camera that she hates. Every time I called her, she was eager to check it (the rutabaga) out. She would move away by the time they flash did its three-ticky-then-flash thing. Ultimately, though, she said no. To the rutabaga. Well, and the camera. In its raw state, that is. The rutabaga. Not the camera. More on that below.
How do you cook a rutabaga? Well, many ways. Most of them, unfortunately for moi these days, involved copious amounts of cheese. So while I was tempted to make a rutabaga au gratin, in good conscience I could not.
Instead, I made rutabaga fries.
They're very simple. First, you peel the rutabaga. The recipe said to use a paring knife, but a regular old peeler worked just fine for me. Next you cut into fry-shaped pieces. The recipe's pieces sounded kind of big; it said don't cut them small or they will cook too fast and mush up.
Next, toss with a little bit of olive oil and season to taste. Salt and pepper would be fine. The recipe suggested paprika, which I learned I was out of. I just stuck with a salt-free seasoning that has pretty much the kitchen sink in it (except for salt).
See how pretty?
No, I am not a professional food photographer. Why do you ask?
Then, you cook the rutabaga. Into a mumble mumble degree oven they went. I think it was 400 degrees. With my annoying small apartment-size oven, which likes to set things on fire, it ended up being around 475. If I had been doing this on the fly, I would go with 400-425 degrees like I do for any other oven fries. As for time, the recipe said only 12 minutes. It lied. I ended up doing the fries for 17 minutes for the smaller, thinner pieces, and about 25 minutes for the bigger ones. Some pieces still ended up a little more firm than I would have liked.
Here they are in all their glory:
How did I like them? On the whole, they didn't suck. But they didn't tickle my nether regions in a happy kind of a way with a feather either. They taste like a cross between broccoli stalks and cauliflower. Mostly they taste like broccoli stalks, but have that cauliflower scent. If you like broccoli stalks, you'll like rutabaga. I don't particularly like broccoli stalks -- I don't particularly like broccoli, for that matter -- and I really don't like the scent of cauliflower. But I'll eat these. They would have been much better with ketchup or some other sort of dipping sauce, or with cheese. And really, what isn't better with cheese?
To her eternal sadness, I didn't let the dog have any just because it was the only side dish I made that night and I was hungry. She would have liked them. She likes broccoli and cauliflower a lot more than I do. She likes most things better than I do.
Except for the flash on the camera.
I'm off to hunt and gather up a pizza. Rutabaga-free.