Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Speaking of orange swedes ...

It's autumn, when tubers and other root vegetables crawl out of their holes and make their way slowly, with a yawn and a rub of their eyes, back onto plates everywhere, via the pot, of course.

I am partial to root vegetables. I never met a tuber I didn't like.

I often bake slices of parsnip and carrot and onion, in a little white wine and water - which means it is not strictly baking but stewing - in a covered casserole in the oven until they are almost done. (The aroma from this is a revelation.)

Then I take the casserole out of the oven and place over the vegetables some fish, any white-fleshed fish such as blue grenadier or trevally or rock ling, along with a generous pat of butter and some fresh ground black pepper, and put it back in the oven and a most heavenly dinner is ready in ten minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Then there's the swede. The yellowy, orangey vegetable is almost an object of derision in some circles. In Scotland it is mashed and served as 'neeps' with haggis. Go on, laugh. Everyone else does. Maybe it's the name.

But I'm undeterred. I like their intriguing nutty flavour and their second cousin status and their shadowy history and doubtful heritage. (Swedes are a cross between the turnip and the cabbage and originated in Siberia, according to an academic I know who works at Google University, Wikipedia Campus.)

Here's a handy swede recipe:

Swede and carrot mash with pine nuts and prosciutto.

Take half a kilo each of swedes and carrots. Cut into chunks. (How big is a chunk? As big as you want it to be.) Bring to the boil in salted water in a large pot and simmer for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly toast some pine nuts in a pan. Cut a few slices of prosciutto into pieces and crisp these in the same pan. Drain the vegetables, retaining a little of the water for mashing. Mash, adding salt, pepper and a little nutmeg and place into a serving bowl.

Shower pine nuts and prosciutto flecks over the top and serve as a side dish with lamb shanks slowly braised with tomato, onion and olives and served with gremolata of lemon rind, garlic and parsley. Pour a shiraz.

There you are. A swede in every garage and a swede in every pot.


Sara said...

Is a swede the same as a turnip? If so I love em. Love most root veggies. In fact as I read this I am eating a bowl of carrot soup.

kitchen hand said...

It is sometimes called a yellow turnip or a rutabaga, Sara, but it is its own vegetable. Interesting turnip distinctions here.

neil said...

But at least the swedes aren't winning at the tennis so much, a bit like us Aussies.

Lucy said...

I'd like to love swede. Carrots and gremolata might just make them delicious. Parsnips are a favourite.

Great time of the year veggie-wise.

Another Outspoken Female said...

I loved the little throw away idea of baking fish and parsnips. Here's my take on it. It turned out fab. I used a little vege stock, added sweet potato and garlic and didn't use butter.