Fondant rutabaga is an unfamiliar term to me. Rutabaga is a confusing vegetable. I thought I bought rutabaga. The Whole Foods’ receipt printed: purple top turnip. Turnip or rutabaga? You need a taxonomist or an anthropologist to figure it out. For these reasons, I have been skipping this recipe on page 269 as I leaf through the pages of Plenty More by Ottolenghi.
I’m glad I’ve finally made the dish and found it transcending. All vegetables, yet with deep flavor and entirely satisfying. I must have eaten a few of these stuffed peppers in one seating. Someone has to stop me from eating more.
Fondant is a classic cooking technique, but infrequently used. The rutabaga dices are cooked in butter, more than one stick of it, at lower heat on the stovetop until they are completely softened and caramelized. That took about 50 minutes. Ottolenghi recommends that the leftover butter be used for cooking carrots and zucchini. So plan your menu accordingly.
The big player of the dish is the roasted pepper. I’ve roasted peppers before. Little did I know that the proper technique is to crank up the oven temperature to 500°F. No, it isn’t a misprint. 500°F for 30 to 40 minutes. The peppers were slightly charred and the flesh was soft. I finally got it! Perfectly roasted peppers: succulent, sweet and caramelized.
The mixture of fondant rutabaga, grated Parmesan, crushed garlic and chopped capers is then spooned into the roasted peppers. Goat cheese pieces are dotted on top of the peppers. The last step is to bake the whole assembly in a 425°F oven for another 10-15 minutes. Everything can be prepared ahead until the final baking step. Or, the peppers can be served at room temperature. A stunning and company worthy dish not to be skipped.
|Rutabaga mixture and roasted peppers can be done ahead, before the final baking|
|The pepper is cut lengthwise with the stalk intact|
|50% scaling makes half of the original recipe|