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Sunday Food: Jerry Traunfeld’s Root Ribbons with Sage

I haven’t posted a Food Sunday article in a while.  Chock one up for a busy work schedule and long list of music I’m writing or preparing to start composing.  And pretty much all the Sunday Food diaries I’ve posted here in the past have been my own recipes or innovations on someone else’s.  This recipe is by chef Jerry Traunfeld, known mostly for his wonderful book, The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor.  This recipe, Root Ribbons with Sage, is in that book, but it has also been posted online.

I’ve made it three times now.  One time, I experimented with Golden beets added, even though Traunfeld explicitly says “don’t use beets.”  It is one of the most interesting uses of sage-infused butter I have come across.  I’m going to cook root ribbons with sage for Thanksgiving dinner this year, instead of one of the other yam or sweet potato recipes we’ve used in the past.

Here are the ingredients:

2 pounds medium root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, burdock, rutabagas, yams, parsley root, or salsify (avoid beets)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup coarsely chopped sage
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Chef Traunfeld suggests using a Swiss vegetable peeler like this one, but I used a standard kitchen peeler, made by Kitchen Aid.

Kristen Miglore at the Food52 blog has posted an article with a lot of pictures, including a slide show, that describe making this fairly easy recipe.  Here are the recipe instructions:

Wash and peel the roots and discard the peelings. Continue to peel the vegetables from their tops to the root tips to produce ribbons, rotating the roots on their axis a quarter turn after each strip is peeled, until you’re left with cores that are too small to work with. (You can snack on these or save them for stock.) Alternately, you may use a mandoline.

Melt the butter with the sage in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir for a minute to partially cook the sage. Add the root ribbons and toss them with tongs until they begin to wilt. Add the salt, a good grinding of black pepper, the maple syrup, lemon juice, and about 3/4 cup of water.

Continue to cook the vegetables over medium heat, turning them with tongs every minute or so, until all the liquid boils away and the ribbons are glazed and tender, about 10 minutes total. Serve right away, or cool and reheat in the sklllet when ready to serve.

It is important to have everything ready before you apply heat to the butter and sage. The process goes very fast, so this should be cooked close to the end of meal preparation.

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Alaska progressive activist, notorious composer and firedoglake devotee.