This is a lovely appetizer that presents a study in contrasts. Winter root vegetables are slowly transformed by an oven braise into intense little nuggets of sweetness, and paired with the fresh, clean taste of a salad made from micro-tatsoi simply dressed with hazelnut oil and lemon juice.
1 large carrot, trimmed and peeled, then cut into 1″ chunks
6 medium-sized Japanese turnips, trimmed and peeled, then quartered
6 plump black radishes, trimmed and peeled, then quartered
1/2 cup sliced hedgehog mushrooms
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted French butter such as Pamplie or Beurre d’Isigny
chopped parsley or rosemary
salt, to taste
freshly milled black pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
Melt butter in a small sauté pan. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the vegetables, a pinch of salt and pepper, parsley or rosemary, and enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Mix well. Transfer to a Pyrex baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 400 F for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Taste for salt and pepper. Lift vegetables out with a slotted spoon and divide amongst four warmed plates. Finish each serving with a squeeze of lemon juice, then serve at once.
The tatsoi salad simply consists of micro-tatsoi leaves that have been lightly dressed in hazelnut oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Substitute watercress if unavailable.
Time: About 50 minutes, including prep.