Each year my Mum and I are asked to provide one or two side dishes for the Christmas meal. My Grammie makes the turkey and the stuffing, and each of my Dad's siblings (or spouses) prepares a side dish or two to round out the feast. Last year my Mother and I made gingered sweet potatoes. The year before that I cooked green beans. This year we have been assigned turnips and parsnips.
We'll cook the parsnips quite traditionally: sliced and fried in butter. But there is always a little leeway for an interesting side dish, too, so I decided plain mashed turnip was out. Turnip is a vegetable I have not really liked in the past, especially on Christmas day when there are so many other tasty veggies from which to choose. But it turns out that the veg I thought I disliked are not even turnips at all.
I learned, from Out of Nova Scotia Gardens, that in fact these roots are rutabagas. Turnips are smaller, with white skin and white flesh. Rutabagas are yellow skinned and have more dense, yellow flesh. Rutabagas are in fact the regularly appearing vegetables at our Christmas dinner, not turnips.
This slaw makes rutabagas into an attractive and interesting side dish. The rutabaga is shredded and still raw, and the colour is provided by apple and red onion. The dressing contains cider vinegar, which keeps the apple from yellowing. Marinate the slaw overnight and serve, to relatives' astonished faces at your next family dinner. (I'm hoping it will be the star of the feast!)
adapted from Out of Nova Scotia Gardens
serves 6 as a side dish
1 large rutabaga
1 red onion
3 T agave nectar (or 1/4 c [60 g] sugar)
1/2 c (125 ml) cider vinegar
1/4 c (50 ml) vegetable oil
1/4 t dried summer savoury
sea salt and pepper
2 red apples
Grate the rutabaga and finely dice the red onion. Combine in a bowl.
Mix the agave nectar (or sugar), vinegar, oil, summer savoury, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk to emulsify.
Leave the apples unpeeled and core and finely dice them.
Immediately toss with the rutabaga and onion and add the dressing.
Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least eight hours.