rutabaga fries.

Perhaps these aren’t the prettiest things. Perhaps they look a little bit bland, or boring, or like they were covered in rocks.

Fortunately, none of these are true. But this is most definitely a recipe that can’t be judged by its looks. It’s what’s inside that counts anyway, as is the case with most things.

sliced rutabaga.

pretty paprika.

dredging.

I tried rutabaga for the first time, no joke, about two years ago. It was at Elliott’s grandmother’s house — the same place where I tried rhubarb for the first time, no joke, about three years ago. Apparently Grandma Marlyn’s home is the place to get crazy with new foods. I also tried a glass of Chocovine there for the first time — though that experience, I’m sorry to say, wasn’t as positive.

Rutabaga is an ugly thing to behold at first glance. It looks like a big, gnarly bulb; anything but appetizing. But peel away the layers and inside is a bright golden vegetable just begging to be baked or roasted. One of my favorite ways to eat this vegetable is tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven until it’s warm and soft and caramelized.

pre-oven fries.

The other way is like this: In fry form.

stack o' fries.

There are several ways to approach this recipe. One way is to chop up the rutabaga into fry-like slices, toss them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt, pepper and chili powder or paprika, then bake them. Or, you can dredge them in flour, egg and breadcrumbs like I did for that lovely crunchy-soft texture dynamic. The husband wouldn’t stop talking about the “texture” — it’s that good. Either way, they’re baked, which makes them healthy. Or healthier, at least, then a bag of greasy old frozen French fries. And far more delicious.

Rutabaga Fries
A Girl Versus Dough original

Yields: Anywhere from about 2 to 3 dozen fries, depending on how thin you slice them

Ingredients:
1 rutabaga, peeled and sliced into fry-like spears
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
paprika, chili powder or Italian seasonings (like oregano and basil) to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place flour in one shallow bowl, eggs in another and Panko breadcrumbs mixed with seasonings of your choice (sprinkle enough seasoning in there that you can see it — you want more than you think you need) in another. Cover a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper spritzed with olive oil or cooking spray.
Roll each spear in flour, then egg, allowing leftover egg to fall off the spear, then in breadcrumb mixture. Shake each spear slightly to remove excess coating and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with each spear.
Bake spears for about 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are a deep golden brown, flipping over halfway through. Sprinkle with extra paprika or seasoning, if desired, and your favorite dipping sauce.

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