I am enthusiastic about the rutabaga. As a member of the Brassica family, it inherited all of the wonderful nutrients of cabbage, kale, and turnips, yet it lacks the characteristic pungency of these close relatives. That, along with its comely golden hue and sweet, smooth flavor, and it sounds like the vegetable we’d all dream up.
Select firm, plump rutabagas with unblemished skin. Try to find ones on the smallish side; those larger than a tennis ball are bitter and brash. Store in a cool, dark place for 2-3 days. Before using, trim both the root and stem end and peel.
Roasted grapes are an unexpected source of both acidity and sweetness in this surprising side. If you don’t feel like taking the extra step of smoking onions for a glut of rutabagas, I understand; I really only use them if I have them around already.
2 pounds rutabaga, cut into 1 ½-inch wedges (or small roots, halved)
2 smoked or fresh red onions, quartered (or 2 cups smoked baby red onions, peeled)
2 cups seedless red grapes, stemmed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon honey
2 sprigs of rosemary, torn in half
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar (Banyuls is my favorite)
fine sea salt
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Divide the rutabaga, onion, and grapes between two parchment lined baking sheets. Toss each with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a drizzle of honey, a few sprigs of rosemary, and two pinches of salt. Spread ingredients out in one even layer; don’t overcrowd the pans.
Roast for approximately 35 minutes, or until the rutabaga is tender, the onion caramelized, and the grapes have begun to burst. Let everything cool slightly on the pan before tossing each batch with ½ teaspoon red vinegar, a pinch of coarse sea salt, and 2 grinds black pepper.