For me, one of the most exciting things about this blog is the introduction of new ingredients to myself and my readers.
It is really about extending one’s comfort zone and affording new ingredients a chance to shine.
For some, it is about exploring new ingredients. For others, it is about using old-hat ingredients in new and creative ways. When I meet one of my blog followers, I am often told that through simpletowow.com, they have tried something new that has now become one of their favorites. That makes my heart swell.
For one of my readers in Chicago, Simply the best salad…ever! has helped her discover so many new tomato varieties. She had always been a one-variety round red tomato consumer. Through the blog, her eyes were opened up to a rainbow of tomato shapes, colors and flavors.
Another one of my readers had never thought to use raw beets in the past. His experience with beets had only been limited to cooked beets. Balsamic Beet Slaw: Easy, Fresh and Delicious introduced him to raw beets as a delicious salad ingredient.
Then, there are the ingredients that people love to hate.
Rutabagas falls into that category so easily.
This fall, I have been seeing waxed turnips in the produce market. Waxed turnips are also called rutabagas or swedes and have a very unique flavor and texture. They are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C and manganese, and are a great source of fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
The taste of a rutabaga is difficult to describe. It has a sweet earthy bitterness that I find to be delicious and most interesting. Technically, rutabaga is a cross between cabbage and turnip. Rutabagas are usually waxed, hence they are also known as waxed turnips. Using a sharp paring knife, it is important to remove the peel of the rutabaga along with the wax coating before using it as an ingredient.
Rutabaga is one of our family’s new favorite ingredients. I hope that you will learn to love it, too.
This quick saute is one of our simplest and most favorite rutabaga preparations.
1-2 onions or shallots
1-2 stalks of celery, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced or granulated garlic
1-2 rutabagas, peeled and shredded
Peel rutabaga with a sharp paring knife, taking care to remove every bit of the waxy peel. Shred rutabaga in the food processor, using the shredding blade.
Saute onions and/or shallots, garlic and celery slices in oil, just until starting to brown. Add shredded rutabaga and saute on medium-high heat, just until wilted. Once wilted, add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium and saute until soft and flavorful.
Try tossing this saute with pasta, rice, farro or kasha. It is best served warm.
Serve this rutabaga saute under grilled chicken or beef.
Try mixing the rutabaga with sauteed green cabbage. Just add the shredded cabbage to the saute pan at the same time as the shredded rutabaga.