Crispy Baked Rutabaga Fries

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone, and it was wonderful. Full of delicious food, and family. My Dad made his delicious turnip soup and this year added some rutabaga….perfect! The peppery bite of the rutabaga combined with the milder turnip roots was just perfect. I promised my Dad’s soup recipe, but I forgot to take pictures because we devoured it so quickly…straight from the pot on the stove. This means that I will have to recreate it and take pictures and then post. Sorry. But I do offer up my rutabaga fries. I really like the peppery bite a rutabaga has. And they are a nice change from sweet potato fries. Whenever I make a batch of these, they don’t make it off the sheet pan I cooked them on. We just devour them.
A rutabaga is an odd looking veggie. It mostly comes with a thick wax coating on the outside and this makes it a bugger to slice. My Whole Foods actually carries the unwaxed root and it is much easier to cut. All sorts of lore regarding how to cut a rutabaga circulates…I mean I have heard of poeple putting them on paper plates and microwaving them to melt the wax. Good greif, I can only imagine the mess that would make. Suffice it to say you just need a really sharp chef’s knife. My grandmother certainly didn’t have any kind of fancy knife and she sliced countless rutabaga. Just place it flat on a cutting board and slice down the sides. Flip it over and slice off the remainder of the waxy peel. For the fries, quarter the root and then take each quarter and slice it into fries. One complaint I hear often about baked fries of any variety is how they don’t crisp. Well, that is true. They will not ever have the crunch of a fried in oil fry. Sorry. It’s not going to happen. But, there are some things you can do to ensure a crispier exterior to a baked fry.
1. use a metal sheet pan, dark color if possible
2. heat the oven with the pan in the oven too
3. spray the fires with a little olive oil but only a mist… not over oil
4. use 1 tsp. cornstarch per root or potato….I toss the fries in a ziploc with the cornstarch and salt and pepper so they are evenly coated.
5. place the fries on the pan so they are not touching and there is room for the hot air to circulate, otherwise they will STEAM.
6. shake the pan and rotate to ensure even browning
I enjoy noshing on these dipped in a little siracha spiced “mayo”…just mix a little veganaise with siracha or chipotle or even liquid smoke. A delicious alternative to ordinary fries.

Crispy Baked Rutabaga Fries
1 rutabaga, peeled and sliced into “fries”
1 mist of olive oil(about 1 tsp)
1 tsp cornstarch
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Let sheet pan heat in oven as well. Lightly mist your hands with oil and rub them all over the fries. In a large ziploc bag, mix 1 tsp cornstarch with salt and pepper(I use herbamare blend) and place rutabaga in bag and shake to evenly coat with starch and seasonings. Arrange on sheet pan so they are not touching
Bake about 15-20 min, shake and flip. Bake another 15 min. or until fries appear browned and crispy.

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