In Season: Rutabagas

By Jessica Watkins

Best imagined as the lovechild of a cabbage and a turnip, the rutabaga is often overlooked because of its unappetizing name and history as peasant food. But these brassica veggies bring a uniquely sweet yet bitter flavor to most any meal. Rutabagas are packed with folate, bone-building potassium, and cholesterol-lowering fiber, and their high vitamin C content helps strengthen our immune systems to fight off winter illnesses. At their peak from October to December, simple-to-prepare rutabagas can easily become a family favorite.

Grilled Salmon With Braised Rutabaga
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet. Peel and cut 1 large rutabaga into 1-inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper; add to skillet with 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, and juice from 1 lemon. Cook until tender. Brush 2 salmon fillets with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and grill 6 to 8 minutes per side. Spoon braised rutabaga onto plate and top with salmon.

Creamy Rutabaga Mashed Potatoes
Peel and cut 2 pounds rutabagas and 3 pounds potatoes into 1-inch pieces; cook until tender. Drain and mash. Mix in 3 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

Roasted Root Vegetable Stew
Add 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, and 1 tablespoon chopped sage to a stewpot and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup each of rutabagas, parsnips, shallots, and carrots and 1/2 cup celery root, peeled and cut into stew-sized pieces, to the pot. Cook until veggies are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.