I've not been shy in writing about my love for the humble rutabaga. Sweeter than turnips, easier to peel than butternut squash, and with half the calories of potatoes (if you note such details), rutabaga is a vegetable in heavy rotation in my kitchen.
But what do you do with a rutabaga, you ask. So many things, but let's stay simple today: Roast it with a gilding of brown butter.
The rutabaga is a homely vegetable usually found somewhere between the squash and the turnips at the grocery store. That said, I think its violet coloring is actually rather pretty; I almost always have one propped in my vegetable bowl. Most rutabaga are waxed for preservation, and I find that they last for weeks on the countertop in my winter kitchen.
But here's the thing: Don't let rutabaga's rough appearance and close association with tough winter squash mislead you. Unlike squash, which take so much effort with a knife to peel and pry apart, a rutabaga is quickly and easily peeled with a good vegetable peeler, and after that it's easy to dice.
This is a favorite side dish: just dice the rutabaga, toss with brown butter, and roast. So simple.
If you want a more austere (or vegan) side dish, a drizzle of olive oil can stand in for the butter.
Roasted Rutabaga in Brown Butter
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 large rutabaga, about 1 1/2 pounds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Heat the oven to 450°F. Peel the rutabaga with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, until the butter foams then browns into a nutty, toasty-smelling liquid.
Toss the rutabaga with the browned butter and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the rutabaga to a large baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Roast for 25 to 40 minutes or until browned and tender. Remove from the baking sheet and toss with lemon juice and parsley.
(Image credits: Faith Durand)