Root Veggie Recipes

Rutabaga, parsnips, taro—their names are familiar, but how do you prepare them? Renowned cooking teacher Joanne Weir demystifies the lesser-known, plucked-from-the-soil veggies

by Joanne Weir
root-vegetable tagine image
Photograph: Christopher Testani

2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and coriander; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the rutabaga, parsnips, broth and 4 cups water, and simmer 20 minutes, until tender. Let cool for 20 minutes. In batches, puree in a blender on high speed, 3 min-utes per batch, until very smooth. Or use a stick blender right in the pot. Add the lemon juice, and stir. If the soup is too thick, add water until the consistency is similar to that of thick heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place the ground coriander seeds and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Warm for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with coriander oil, and garnish with cilantro.

Parsnip And Kale Salad

Prep time: 26 minutes

Cooking time: 16 minutes

Serves 6

  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and cut into thin ribbons
  • 3 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 parsnips, about ¾ pound, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup roasted pistachios

1. Place the onion, vinegar and a large pinch of salt in a small bowl. Place thekale in a large bowl. Set both aside.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the prosciutto, and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside on paper towels. Heat the oil in the same large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, and stir to coat with oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, covered, until parsnips begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove lid; stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown at the edges, 5 to 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, and add to the kale. Strain the onion, and add to the kale. Toss with balsamic. Top with the prosciutto and pistachios, and serve.

Jicama-Cucumber Salad with Hot Pepper and Lime

Prep time: 18 minutes

Chilling time: 1 hour

Serves 4 to 6

  • ½ teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 jicama, about 1 pound, peeled, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • Pinch of chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice and salt. Add the jicama, cucumber, onion, chipotle powder and cilantro. Toss to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving. Serve on a platter, and garnish with cilantro.

Open-Faced Cheddar Sandwich with Pickled Turnips and Daikon
Prep time: 25 minutes, plus 24 hours for chilling

Cooking time: 8 minutes

Serves 6

You will probably be left with extra pickled daikon and turnip. If so, serve with your favorite sandwich or on a burger.

  • ½ pound small white turnips
  • ½ pound daikon
  • 1 medium red beet
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 small pinch crushed red pepper
  • 6 slices coarse, textured rye bread
  • 6 thick slices sharp Cheddar cheese, about 1½ ounces per slice
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens or frisée

1. Peel the turnips, daikon and beet, and cut into 1/8-inch slices. Pack the turnips, daikon, beet and garlic into jars or a large bowl, alternating beets between the layers of turnip, daikon and garlic.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring ¾ cup water, the vinegar, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper to a boil. Stir to dissolve the salt. Pour over the vegetables, making sure they are completely covered with liquid. If they’re not, add extra vinegar. Close the jar (or cover the bowl), and place in the refrigerator overnight.

3. The next day, remove the vegetables from the pickling solution, and pat dry. Cut into ½-inch strips.

First published in the November 2012 issue

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