Here’s one more root vegetable recipe before we switch over to asparagus and salad greens. I clipped this out of a New York Magazine while we still lived in NYC, because we occasionally shopped at Windfall Farms. I also don’t really have any good rutabaga recipes, other than our standard roast-everything-in-a-pan method. “Hold on there, Lindsay”, you might say, “The title of this post says ‘turnip’ not ‘rutabaga’.” Yes, observant reader, it is actually a rutabaga, but Mr. John Gilfeather thought it was a turnip. Also, Jerusalem artichokes are neither Israeli nor artichokes. What can I say? Vegetable identity crisis.
The Gilfeather turnip is a Slow Food Ark of Taste product, which makes it worth seeking out. The Ark of Taste program finds and protects endangered flavors – those beloved by old-timers, but threatened by industrial agriculture. Just for fun, here are some other Ark of Taste products from the Northeast.
- Bay scallops
- Boiled cider (used as a sweetener)
- “Old-Type” Rhode Island Red chicken
- Shrub (okay, not technically a Northeast thing, but a new favorite of mine)
- True Red Cranberry bean
Kind of makes me want to make an Ark of Taste bingo game…
Back the to rutabaga! It looks like a big white turnip, but is a little milder with less of a bite. Originating in southern Vermont, it’s even more local to us now that we’ve moved to Boston, so I was delighted to find one in one of our last CSA pick-ups.
This would make a great light lunch, but we cooked up some sausages to make a more substantial meal. It was nice and fluffy, like mashed potatoes, but with a more complex flavor – just enough peppery-ness.
Gilfeather Turnip Casserole
Serves 4 as a side or 2 as an entrée
|Amount||Ingredient||Preparation||Where we bought it (SWM = Somerville Winter Market)|
|2 to 2 1/2 pounds||Gilfeather turnips||You can use regular rutabagas if you can’t find Gilfeathers.||Red Fire Farm|
|2||Eggs||Red Fire Farm|
|1/2 cup||Milk||Shaw Farm (SWM)|
|1/2 tsp||Nutmeg||Freshly grated, if you can|
|3 TBsp||All purpose flour||Wild Hive Farm|
|1 TBsp||Butter||Shaw Farm (SWM)|
|2 TBsp||Bread crumbs|
- Peel the rutabagas and chop them into cubes. Try to make the chunks close in size, so that they all cook in the same amount of time.
- In a medium pot, add the rutabagas, a pinch of salt, and enough water to cover. Boil until the rutabagas are soft, about 30 minutes.
- Once the rutabagas are soft, drain them and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the rutabagas, eggs, milk, salt, spices, and flour into a food processor and process until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash everything by hand, but I’d recommend mashing the rutabagas until they’re smooth first, then the eggs (one at a time), then the rest. This will help you get all the chunks out.
- Rub just a little of the butter on the bottom and sides of a 1-quart soufflé dish. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish.
- Use a fork to mash the remaining butter into the bread crumbs and sprinkle it over the top of the rutabaga mash.
- Bake for an hour or until the buttery crumbs are nicely browned.
Looking at that photo, I think that it would be a really pretty side for dinner guests if it were baked in individual ramekins. It’s not terribly attractive sunk down in that big soufflé dish (we don’t have a 1-quart one, so I used what we had).