This past weekend at the farmer’s market, the first of the turnips and new potatoes were available. One of the vegetable growers that I like to go to actually had some fun varieties that were red and white. Very Canadian, eh?
Anyways, it got me thinking of the Scottish dish neeps and tatties. While the term isn’t used as much in the general urban vernacular of Scotland, it’s still somewhat used in rural circles. What a “neep” is to a Scot can vary from person to person. One can say it’s a large Swede. Another can say it’s a turnip, another may use the term to refer to a pile of both of them as they dig them up from the earth. The word, rutabaga is actually an Americanized version of the Swedish term for “red bag” so it’s not even used in Scotland. It’s rather contentious. I’m a silly Canadian inspired by a funny name (funny to my ears, please don’t beat me!!), so I’m using the first of these lovely roots and making my own in a sandwich. That’s right, it’s carbolicious!!
I gave a nod to the tradition of the Scottish bread, Bap, and added bacon and tomato because it’s a common sandwich filling for the soft Scottish bread.
Neeps and Tatties Sandwich with Bacon and Tomato on Bap
For the Lovage Neeps and Tatties:
3-5 small new potatoes (about 3/4 cup in volume), coarsely chopped
1 small turnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp, packed, fresh lovage, finely chopped, or finely chopped celery
In a small pot, add the turnip and potatoes. Cover with water with enough to exceed the volume of the root vegetables my 2-3cm (about 1-1/4″). Add the salt and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lovage, cover again and cook for a further 7-10 minutes, or until cooked through and softened.
Drain the water away and roughly mash the lovage, turnips and potatoes with a fork. Set aside.
To assemble the sandwich:
Prepared Lovage Neeps and Tatties
4 slices bacon, fried until crisp
1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced (I used a golden Roma tomato variety, but any tomato is great)
1 15cm/6″ diameter Bap bread (or the equivelent sized focaccia bread)
Cut the top from the bread, being gentle because it is not a high-leavened bread. Spread the Lovage Neeps and Tatties over the bottom. Layer the tomatoes and bacon over it and top it with the top of the bread. Cut in half. Serves 2.