Unconventional fries and ketchup

| 29 Oct 2015 | 04:13

It’s possible to eat seasonally and locally throughout winter. The challenge is coming up with fresh ideas for those winter greens and root vegetables. I’ve braised turnips in stews and made rutabaga mash every Thanksgiving, but I haven’t considered them for a new recipe — until now. When cut into shoestrings or wedges and baked to a golden brown, these rutabaga oven fries will appeal to turnip enthusiasts and skeptics, too. They look just like traditional potato fries, so you can decide whether or not to divulge their little secret.

The rutabaga, a member of the brassica family and a cross between a turnip and cabbage, has a mild nuttiness and sweetness that intensifies when roasted. Choose a large one and cut pieces of similar size so they cook evenly. A little olive oil, a sprinkle of fresh rosemary and sea salt is all you need to transform them into crispy delicious finger food. Spice them up with a dusting of chili powder or cayenne.

Unconventional fries demand unconventional ketchup. This tangy, earthy sauce of roasted beets cooked in apple cider vinegar with a touch of blackstrap molasses has more depth of flavor than tomato ketchup. The beet, like the rutabaga, has found its moment. This stuff is so good you may find yourself double dipping. If you can get past the pink hue, beet ketchup is the perfect condiment for fries, veggie burgers and just about anything else.

Rutabaga fries

1 medium to large rutabaga

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the rutabaga and cut into fries. Place in large bowl and coat with olive oil. Mix in ½ teaspoon of the salt and the rosemary. Place fries on baking sheet, being careful not to overlap them. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp, flipping them after 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Serve with a generous portion of beet ketchup.

Beet ketchup

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 large beets, roasted and roughly chopped (approximately 4 cups)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons unsulphured blackstrap molasses

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and cook on low for 5 to 7 minutes until they are translucent. Add the beets, vinegar, cloves, salt and pepper to the saucepan and cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly and place in blender. Blend until smooth, adding a tablespoon of water if necessary to reach desired consistency.