One of the mellower cousins in the Brassica family and believed to be a cross between cabbage and turnip, rutabagas are typically yellow fleshed and are larger and sweeter than turnips. Choose those that are heavy, firm, and smooth. Refrigerate, without leaves, for several weeks. Peel away the tough outer skin before using.
Simmer chunks of rutabaga, potato, kohlrabi, carrots, and onions in 2 quarts vegetable broth until tender; purée the mixture to make a creamy soup, flavoring with fresh oregano, thyme, black pepper, and salt. Stir in fresh spinach leaves just prior to serving. Steam 1-inch cubes of rutabaga over simmering water until tender. Cool slightly, then toss with a light remoulade sauce: Mix two parts mayo with one part Dijon mustard; flavor with cayenne, capers or chopped olives, minced onion, and minced tarragon or parsley; stir in a pinch of ground turmeric for color. Serve as a simple appetizer, or on lettuce leaves with hard-cooked eggs.
In Sweden, where beloved rutabagas are actually called Swedes, chefs combine cooked rutabagas, potatoes, and carrots with butter and cream in a dish called “rotmos” (root mash). Try it flavored with sautéed onion and garlic, and topped with a little shaved Parmesan cheese.