VEAL CHOP AND RUTABAGA GRATIN


... or was it Rutabaga gratin and Veal chop?

As a matter of fact, those two were so good as it is difficult to put forward one rather than the other...
The rutabaga is an old root vegetable, a bit overlooked indeed. In France, it had long had a bad reputation as it was used as an ersatz for potatoes during WWII, and a lot of people (my mom first) were not really keen for it (euphemism) as it reminded them bad memories. That said, correct me if I am wrong, I don't have the feeling that it is very popular in the USA and food privations of WWII cannot be held responsible for it. Maybe, it gets back from the Great Depression?
This is in any case a very interesting, cheap and versatile vegetable that can be prepared exactly like potatoes, in purée, steamed, fried (I'll have to try this), and unlike potatoes, it is also very good raw... It is said to be a cross between the cabbage and the turnip (btw, its other name in French is "chou navet", which means cabbage-turnip), but it tastes like something between a turnip, a radish and a potato... In any case, it is delicious...
To cook it this time, I was inspired by a recipe of 3-starred chef Alain Passard and, once again, I was not disappointed at all. Passard treats the rutabaga like in a gratin dauphinois, but with some "arrangements". Like the potatoes in a gratin dauphinois, the rutabaga was peeled and scalloped in thin (1/1.5 mm) slices. Those were covered by hot milk, salted, peppered, "grated-nutmeg-ed", and cooked till getting tender but still firm and surely not disaggregating. When at the right tenderness, I removed the rutabaga slices from the milk, and put them in previously buttered individual molds. I added some blue cheese -my personal twist to the Passard's recipe- into the remaining milk, and let it cook, bubble and reduce till obtaining a creamy texture. I poured this cream in the molds, on top of the rutabaga slices, then topped the whole with a thin layer of whipped crème fraîche, and passed the molds under the grill for 3/4 minutes till obtaining a nice gratinéed aspect. Some nutmeg, Parmesan and lemon* grated on top, and those delicious rutabaga gratins dauphinois were ready to go side by side with the veal chops.
Veal chop is a great classic and it never disappoints me, more specifically with those superb and not too big chops ordered from D'Artagnan (with a -40% promo). After having removed the bones, I trimmed them, round-shaped them with a cooking twine, cooked them traditionally in a searing pan, seared in a tiny bit of oil first, then simmered with butter, basting them constantly and let them rest so that they finish cooking.
With the bones and trims, I made a sauce, searing them on each side till they caramelize beautifully, deglazed with wine, flambéed the whole, then added a broth made with the rurabaga trims, and let gently reduce. Strained, seasoned and "mounted with butter" just before serving...
Mmm...
* Passard found a great similarity between the lemon and the rutabaga, at least the shape and the color; in any cas, it works, as the tanginess of the lemon matched perfectly the sweetness of the rutabaga.

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