My final festive Scandinavian dish for this year is lanttulaatikko. This Finnish recipe takes the humble turnip (what you folks might call swede or rutabaga) and turns it into a rich, creamy, bubbling baked dish of yumminess.
As with most Christmas vegetable dishes, lanttulaatikko could never claim to be in anyway healthy but I quite like the idea that vegetables go a bit wild at this time of the year and naughtily dress themselves up in honey and butter and cream.
In fact, I’ve spoke to some turnips and it seems that for eleven months of the year they feel they are thought of as nutritious but dull - nothing to get excited about. They understand this and respect their position in the vegetable world but come December, these grubby roots want to let themselves go and be transformed into wickedly silky, sexy side-dishes that have diners groaning for more.
And if that comes at a calorific cost, well, both the turnips and I are absolutely fine with that. This month, anyway.
(serves 4 as a side-dish)
1 large Scottish turnip (i.e. rutabaga or swede – the yellow fleshed one)
150ml cream (single, double or crème fraîche)
1/2 tspn nutmeg
2 tblspns soft butter (plus a little extra)
1 tblspn honey
- Peel the turnip and cut into 2cm wide chunks. Just cover in salted water and boil until completely tender. Drain.
- Mash the turnip well and push through a potato ricer or a sieve.
- Combine the cream, butter, honey, nutmeg and egg. Add to the turnip and mix well. Season to taste.
- Add turnip mixture to a small casserole dish, level off with a fork and dot with butter.
- Bake in a 180oC pre-heated oven for 40 minutes until golden and crisp on top.