Eat Your Roots and Veggies

Recipes for winter’s tastiest root vegetables.

Root “vegetable” is something of a misnomer; they are really just roots or tubers used as vegetables for culinary and nutritionary purposes. But we won’t get carried away by semantics. One thing you might not know about root vegetables is that they are, scientifically-speaking, enlarged storage organs for the plant to which they are attached, harboring additional energy in the form of carbohydrates—okay, you probably knew that last part. But don’t let words like “carb” or “starch” deter you; root vegetables have long been a staple food for the winter season, not only because they can be stored for several months, but also because they offer a number of health benefits that far outweigh any concerns you might have about packing on extra pounds.

Roots like yams, beets, parsnips and carrots are some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can find. Absorbing high concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins A, B and C, and iron from the soil in which they grow, root vegetables might be called an essential addition to your pantry. And since their peak season is now, when the temperatures are too cold to support other crops, you may as well take advantage of the abundance of roots at your local market.

Here, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite root recipes. Some of them might surprise you.

Fall Root Vegetable Salad & Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

1 egg (yolk)
1 cup grapeseed oil
2 lemons
½ cup cream
4 cups shaved seasonal root vegetables
¼ cup soft herbs (leaves only)
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Cut lemons in half and drizzle with oil. Heat grill or cast iron pan to a medium-high heat. Place lemons cut side down and allow to slowly caramelize for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are nicely charred. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a medium sized bowl (glass or stainless steel) add egg yolk, a pinch of salt, several grinds of pepper and whisk. While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle grapeseed oil into the egg. Make sure not to add the oil too fast or it will separate. Once the egg and oil emulsify, increase the stream of oil until you have used the entire amount. In a separate container, squeeze charred lemons through a strainer to remove any seeds, then whisk into egg and oil mixture. Slowly whisk in cream until thick. Toss with shaved seasonal root vegetables and herbs.

Serves 6

Turnip and Apple Soup Recipe

1 ½ pounds turnips, washed, peeled and diced
1 pound tart apples washed, peeled, cored and diced
1 medium onion diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 good sprig fresh thyme
2 stalks of parsley with leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple cider

Melt butter in a large pot and sauté onion and celery for 5 minutes. Add the turnips and apples and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the coriander, salt and apple cider and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock with the sprig of fresh thyme and 2 stalks of parsley.

Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the thyme and cool. Purée and strain. Add salt and pepper to taste, reheat and serve. Garnish with red, yellow and green apple slices and turnip and tarragon leaves.

Serves 6

Smoked Trout with Sunchoke Salad 

3 whole trout filleted with pin bones removed
1 cup balsamic vinegar reduced by ¾
½ ounce bourbon
½ pound sunchokes
1 cup homemade mayonnaise
4 eggs hard boiled and grated on a box grater
1 sprig rosemary finely chopped
2 stalks celery
½ celery root shaved with vegetable peeler
1 cup picked and cleaned turnip greens
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce honey
4 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together reduced balsamic and bourbon. It should have a syrupy consistency. Brush across fillets of fish and smoke at 300 degrees for 7 minutes. Chill thoroughly.

Place sunchokes in a heavy bottomed pot. Cover with cold water and cook on high heat until easily pierced with fork. Remove from water and cool.

To make honey thyme vinaigrette, place mustard, lemon juice, honey and thyme in blender and blend on high speed. Slowly add oil while blender is on. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop celery into ¼ inch slices. Mix together with sunchokes, mayonnaise, rosemary and boiled eggs. Season with salt and pepper.

Fry celery root in oil heated to 325 degrees until brown and crispy. Remove excess oil with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble, divide the sunchoke salad among 6 plates. Remove the skins from the smoked trout. Place one fillet on top of each portion of sunchoke salad. In a mixing bowl, dress turnip greens with some of the honey thyme vinaigrette. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette around the 6 plates. Scatter the turnip greens and celery root chips equally around all plates and serve.

Serves 6.

Sweet Potato Cocktail 

½ ounce Licor 43½ ounce Mount Gay XO rum
½ ounce Captain Morgan 100 proof rum
2 ounces sweet potato purée mixture

Stir all ingredients until well incorporated. Serve over ice.

For sweet potato purée:
4 cooked, peeled sweet potatoes
1 star anise pod
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole allspice berries
1 cup maple water (½ cup maple syrup combined with ½ cup hot water)

Purée all ingredients and simmer for half an hour. Strain mixture.
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