Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rutabaga Ruminations - Rotmos (Rutabaga Mash)

One of the unsung heroes of tasty tuberdom.  The Rutabaga, also known as a Swede or Swedish Turnip, is the product of a natural cross between a cabbage and a turnip.  Which explains why Rutabagas and Turnips are often confused, for they look a lot like your standard white turnip, complete with purple top. 

The Rutabaga is blessed with a lovely golden color and tends towards a more mellow flavor than that of a turnip.  They also tend to be less watery when making a mash (rotmos), which is my favorite way to eat them.  Then again, any root vegetable can reach the pinnacle of deliciousness if you add enough butter to it... LOL

There will be some out there that disagree with me regarding the palatability of the Rutabaga.  For they contain glucosinolates that react to a human gene associated with "perceived" bitterness.  It's kind of like the "asparagus smell" phenomenon.  Not everyone has this active gene, but if you have the genotype PAV/PAV, you may find rutabagas completely inedible.  Not to sound callous or anything, but it's OK if you don't like them, that just means there are more for me. ;)   LOL

I should come clean here.  I did not grow up eating Rutabagas.  In fact, up until about 6 years ago, I could not tell the difference between a Turnip & a Rutabaga either.  No clue.  That is until I spent Thanksgiving with my best friend Stephanie and her parents.  Joanne, Steph's mom, makes the most awesomely delicious mashed "turnip".  But when I first tried to make it at home, it never turned out.  it was always watery and, sadly, kind of gross.  Well, I eventually found out that the reason Joanne's mash was so delicious, was because she used Rutabagas.  I always wondered why my turnip mash was  a different color.  ;)

This recipe is at once simple and yet complicated.   It's nothing more than Rutabagas, Butter, Salt and Pepper... But you need to know how to handle them, and you need to know how much butter to add.  I tried to capture the moment of full butter saturation, but I don't think the pictures turned out that well.  But I am going to try to convey the feel of the recipe anyway......

Rutabaga Mash

(Rotmos)

Rutabagas (about 3 lbs - they are heavy)
Water to Cover
Unsalted Butter (about 8 TB, maybe 10 or 11)
Kosher Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

Here is  a Rutabaga....

You need to peel them with a vegetable peeler, but be very careful to remove the green tinged layer that is underneath the skin (this layer will make them more bitter if it is left on)

Now cube them into 1 inch cubes (they will cook faster)

Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer.

You will continue simmering until they are fork tender and the color deepens to a rich golden orange.

Drain them well.

Then either smash them with a masher, or run them through a ricer (the choice is yours)
Now is the point of adding butter and stirring until it's melted.
Since I usually have about 3 "medium" sized Rutabagas, I always start with 8 TB of butter added in small pieces.

Stir this until it is melted and incorporated well.
Now here is the tricky part.  The texture of the mash will change.  It will become somewhat creamy looking and a little stiffer.

At this point, add 2 more tablespoons of butter and your pretty much good to go.  If the mixture has not stiffened nor taken on a creamy golden appearance, continue adding butter a couple tablespoons at a time.

A good rule of thumb is "When you think you have added enough Butter, add 2 more tablespoons"
Now simply season with a pinch or two of Kosher Salt and a few grinds of Black Pepper, and serve.

And there you have it, a lusciously creamy, pale golden and delicious alternative to Mashed Potatoes.

Mangia!!
~~

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