There is something mysterious about root vegetables…that show of budding, flowering and forming fruit… ripe for the plucking plays out underground. you see the leaves, and maybe the broad shoulders of a beet, but you don’t know what you’ve got until pulling it out of the ground. Once exposed, we know what to do with a potato or carrot, but little about the furtive burdock root, salsify or malanga. Diane Morgan digs deep into the secrets of this nutritious family of foods that are low in calories and easy on the wallet. Her new cookbook, Roots: The Definitive Compendium presents 225 recipes to unlock the flavors and charms of the elusive root.
Just one of the many delicious root recipes from Diane's book:
Rutabaga Hash with Onions and Crisp Bacon
Make this hash for a weekend brunch or as an easy weeknight supper. I like to serve it with a tossed green salad or a steamed vegetable and a crusty loaf of bread. Pass Tabasco or other hot sauce at the table; the vinegary, smoky flavor of hot sauce complements the rutabagas, bacon, and chiles. Poach eggs to place on top of this hearty hash. The runny soft-cooked eggs are a perfect accompaniment.
6 slices bacon, about 5 ounces/140 g, cut into 3/4-in/2-cm pieces
2 pound/910 g rutabagas, ends trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-in/12-mm dice
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-in/12-mm dice
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into slices 1/4 in/6 mm thick
1 Anaheim chile, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-in/12-mm dice
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Tabasco or other hot-pepper sauce for serving
1. In a 12-inch/30.5-cm frying pan, preferably cast iron, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
2. Pour off all but 1/4 cup/60 ml of the fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the rutabagas and onion, and sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring once, for 7 minutes to steam the rutabagas. Uncover the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are browned at the edges, about 1 minute longer.
3. Add the celery and both chiles, stir briefly, and then cover and cook for 3 minutes longer. Uncover the pan and add the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rutabagas are fork-tender and the celery is crisp but not raw tasting. Fold in the cilantro and bacon. Serve immediately, garnished with additional cilantro. Pass the hot-pepper sauce at the table.