We’re experimenting in the kitchen again. Every now and then, Jalapeno Miss chooses what she calls a “secret ingredient” from the grocery store, usually while she is bored waiting for me to pick out the groceries for the week. Patty, or Jalapeno Miss as she is known, is not a cook. While she’s a phenomenal baker, she leaves the kitchen duties to me. Still, she keeps a very keen eye on what ingredients we have and have not used, and what she likes.
Enter the Rutabaga
First off, I’m surprised that I’ve never encountered rutabaga before. My parents were not adventurous cooks growing up, so my palate was never developed until later in life, and it is still developing. I haven’t seen it in restaurants, at least not featured in any way. Jalapeno Miss slipped the bulky thing from the produce area and into the cart. We only purchased one of them and brought it home for experimentation.
Looking at a rutabaga, you might not think it would amount to much. It’s large and bulbous with a flat, light, dull color. Slice into it, though, and you begin to see the potential.
It has the consistency that falls somewhere between a potato and an apple, denser like a potato but with a crispness. There is also a very slight apple taste, the hint of a sweetness that underlies the rutabaga. It is a root vegetable like a potato, so I expected an earthier flavor, so the slight sweetness was welcomed. Still, it’s not a very powerful flavor and I figured it would require some spicing up.
Planning the Rutabaga Meals
Since the rutabaga is a good sized vegetable and I’m only cooking for two people, I decided to cook with it two ways. I had a craving for burgers, so I incorporated it into a slaw as a burger topping, as well as homemade baked rutabaga fries, the perfect side dish for burgers.
I made some quarter pound burger patties, seasoned with garlic, Cajun seasonings, habanero powder and olive oil, then kept them refrigerated until ready.
I quartered the rutabaga and shredded one quarter into a mixing bowl for the slaw. To the mixing bowl, I added one shredded red apple (cored), some lime juice, diced jalapeno pepper, mayo, chili powder and fresh cilantro. After a stir, you can refrigerate it until the burgers are ready. Check out the actual recipe here: http://www.chilipeppermadness.com/recipe-jalapeno-rutabaga-apple-slaw.html.
I took the remaining rutabaga and sliced into thin triangles, about the size of my pinky finger. I spread them over a long baking sheet, sprinkled them with olive oil, garlic, Parmesan and red pepper flakes, then baked them about 40 minutes.
Here is the actual recipe: http://www.chilipeppermadness.com/recipe-spicy-baked-rutabaga-fries.html.
Whenever I use the oven, I like to maximize the heat energy, so I seared the burgers about 1 minute each side, then added them to the oven during the last 10 minutes of baking. I also lightly buttered some slices of rye bread and toasted them in the oven the last 5 minutes of baking for a golden, crusty bun.
Serve up the burgers on the toasted rye bread, top with a heaping mound of Jalapeno-Rutabaga-Apple Slaw, and serve the Spicy Baked Rutabaga Fries on the side. See below.
Good stuff! We hope you enjoy the recipes. We’re certainly fans of rutabaga now. I have a number of ideas for my next experimentations with rutabaga.
Recipes Used Here: