roasted rutabaga, pistachios and golden raisins
Cookbook hoarder! That’s me. I love, love, love cookbooks. I have 74. That doesn’t include the one’s I pick up on a weekly basis from our public library. I read them like novels. Sometimes I make the recipes, other times, I just imagine what the food would taste like. Either way, I find this a completely satisfying way of digesting the content. I know, it may sound a bit obsessive, but come on – you probably have a collection of baseball cards, comic books – or something even more bizarre. (I’d love to hear about it, by the way.)
Recently, I came across a cookbook that caught my attention. It’s called vedge, named after the restaurant of the same name and written by chef/owners Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. The restaurant is vegan. The recipes in this book are vegan — though they could be vegetarian if you used regular cream instead of vegan cream (what is vegan cream?) Anyway, what drew me into this book were the descriptions of the dishes, coupled with the photographs. I wanted to eat this food.
Since I don’t follow a vegan-vegetarian-denial-of-any-food-type protocol, I was surprised at how I was drawn into the recipes and wanted to try them. For example, this roasted rutabaga salad with pistachio and charred onion. The photograph in the book was positively elegant. The list of ingredients was simple. I thought that if they could make — what is essentially a root vegetable salad into a transformative dish — I’d be sold.
I was. So was Scott. It was bright and acidic, the crushed pistachios added just a hint of crunch and texture, and because the rutabaga was sliced thin and roasted for just a whisper, they still maintained a firm, but tender bite. I have to admit, I did stray from the recipe a skosh. I added golden raisins to the onion, thyme and vinegar – because I had them on hand — and I love a hint of sweetness. It worked.
Additional dishes to try: “peas and carrots with jamaican curry” and “winter vegetable cassoulet” Like I said, I’m not a vegan, but with food like this, I could be. Next time I’m in Philly, I’m booking a table!
- 1 large rutabaga, peeled
- 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup minced onions
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4 ounces mixed baby greens or mesclun
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted pistachios, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Slice the rutabaga into 1/8-inch thick slices. (I used a mandoline for this but you can use a really sharp knife - just get the thinnest possible slices you can.) Lay the slices in a single layer on a sheet pan. (You'll need several sheet pans, or do it in batches.)
- Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush this oil mixture over the rutabaga slices. Sprinkle with a half teaspoon salt and a half teaspoon of pepper.
- Roast the rutabaga for 7-9 minutes until fork tender. Set aside to cool.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat (My stove is hot, so I used a medium high heat) until it begins to ripple. Carefully add the onions and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Allow the onions to caramelize for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add raisins. Continue stirring and cooking until the onions have sweated off much of their water and begin to char and raisins plump and take on some color. About 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and deglaze with the apple cider vinegar. Return pan to the heat and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, but the onions and raisins still look very wet. Stir in the thyme leaves, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Whisk together the Dijon mustard and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add greens and pistachios and toss to coat.
- To plate -- arrange rutabaga slices in a circle on each plate -- or if serving family style, fan the rutabaga out on a large platter, overlapping slices slightly. Spoon over the onion-raisin mixture and top with greens.
- I sprinkled a few more pistachios on top and around the salad -- I just couldn't help myself.