Confession Wednesday-The Turnip

I am openly declaring myself a turnip convert. I was a hater, now I’m a lover. LOVER!

Up until a month ago, I just wasn’t that into them. I didn’t get it. It was like a really bad overgrown mutant radish cooked in an awkward way that polluted an entire dish. I would eat it of course pretending to have the most developed palate for root vegetable (which, by the way, I love!), but still not understanding the hype around that sharp-tasting round item.

That turnip was just a long lost ancient red (or purple, in this case) headed step child at an organic vegetable family reunion. It tasted old, sharp, and bitter perhaps from being under the intermittent stream of ‘mist’ in the produce isle at your local King Soopers for the past 3 to 6 months. It looked desperate and unappealing begging to be picked up, leafless, purple beyond recognition under the bright neon lights, wrinkled, and ready to infect your next stew, soup, or (sigh) salad.

Three weeks ago, I met another turnip and fell in love head over heals. The perfect turnip in the simplest of presentations made me a turnip worshiper ready to preach the gospel right here.

There I was just having a quiet girls dinner at Cafe Aion (love Aion!) in Boulder when turnip love stroke. Seasonal, simply prepared, locally produced, this Cure Farm baby turnip was delicately sweet, firm yet tender, crisp and lively. It was mesmerizing. So mesmerizing I could not help but get turnips each week and make them each week the same simple way.

Turnip Convert Salad

Ingredients: a large bunch of baby turnips (not the haggard ones from your corporate grocery store); 2 tablespoons of olive oil; juice of a half of lemon; leaves from 5-7 springs of flat leaf parsley, chopped small;salt to taste.

Cut the greens off. Wash the greens and reserve them for another use- braising is always a good option. Wash the turnips well. Scrub them with a vegetable brush under room temperature water.

Cut the scrubbed turnips into quarters and place them in a bowl. My grandma’s salad dressing making trick: salt- oil- acid- herbs (if used). She has never mixed ingredients for a dressing together outside of the bowl and her salads were always outstanding. So here, first, sprinkle salt. Put the oil in and toss lightly. Add the lemon juice and chopped parsley. Voila!

Give turnip another chance. And if you already love it, try it this way! Enjoy it seasonally, prepare simply.

Photography by Jennifer Olson.

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  • Monet

    My mom loved turnips growing up…but my father never cared for them. Thus I didn't discover them until a few years ago, and like you, I've become a convert!

  • lisasfoods

    I love turnips, especially added to a mix of roasted vegetables. It brings out their sweetness, and they taste great with a bit of garlic and rosemary. My boyfriend doesn't like turnips though, so when I make them, I either have to make a separate try of roasted veggies without them, or I pick out the turnips and eat them myself.

  • Pierce

    Andra, I had not tried a turnip until I was an adult, vacationing in Ireland where they were an ingredient in a stew. I absolutely loved them! You are correct – give them a shot, they are so good.

  • Magic of Spice

    I love tunips…what a great way to enjoy them :)

  • Baking Barrister

    I don't get the turnip thing. I kind of get the radish thing, so I'm hoping to become a turnip convert like you. The thing is, I rarely see them prepared on a menu and I feel like I need to have them made properly to give me that swift kick. Oh well.

  • Chef Dennis

    I will have to try turnips alone….I have had them with soup but never just as turnips!

  • baking.serendipity

    I need to try this! I'm not a turnip lover, but it looks delicious :)

  • Sara

    Sounds like we're all in the same place with turnips…hesitant. But I love all other roots, so why not turnips.

  • Tes

    I definitely have to try to make turnip this way! The only way I made them is soup…