25 May 2008

Spring Turnips & Greens Two Ways

Saturday morning and it was off to our local farmers market. Every centre seems to have one including hundreds of fruit and vegetable stands throughout the valley. But...this is when I wish we lived in a large centre where our local producers would have more of a variety of different and interesting produce.

What I did find was a large bag of fresh Spring lettuces, baby beets, Spring turnips, asparagus, hot house tomatoes and cucumbers...and I had a cheese crepe for my breakfast. Not such a bad haul, but where are the zucchini blossoms, garlic scapes, purple headed broccoli or anything else that would present a challenge to cook or that I see splashed all over the blogosphere? I did ask one of the organic producers if he could bring me some zucchini blossoms. They are only just starting...so we will see what happens. I really wanted to try Aglaia Kremezi's recipe for Fried Zucchini Blossoms with Feta & Mint once more. It would be so much easier if I still had my garden!!!!

The turnip is a member of the cabbage family, and closely related to the swede, with which it is often confused.

There are two seasons for turnips. The spring turnip has a delicate off-white bulb, and the winter turnip is larger with a yellow-green bulb and pale flesh.

One way to cook Spring turnips is to peel and steam them whole for 5 minutes. They can also be roasted, skin and all, or cooked the French way as part of a spring lamb stew. If they are really fresh, spring turnips can be sliced thinly or grated raw into Oriental salads.

Today I am offering you two of my favourite ways to eat these tender little gems. I wanted to eat the greens as well so opted for the first recipe today, but they are equally delicious either way.

**Spiced Spring Turnips & Greens**

400g/1lb spring turnip greens
2 T sunflower oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chilli, split lengthways
5cm/2in piece root ginger, peeled and grated
4 plump garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
400g/1lb small turnips, trimmed, peeled and quartered
salt, to taste
¼ tsp ground turmeric

Finely slice the spring turnip greens and wash them thoroughly - this isn't just to remove any grit, but also because, as there's no liquid added to this dish, the water clinging to the leaves will ensure that the greens cook quickly and evenly. Heat the oil in a large lidded pan and add the cumin seeds. When they begin to pop, reduce the heat and add the chili, ginger and garlic. Add the turnips, salt and turmeric, cover the pan with a lid and cook for ten minutes. Add the spring greens and cook, covered, for a further ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender but still brightly coloured and slightly crunchy. Serve hot as a side dish, removing the chili before serving if you wish.


**Baby Turnips with Honey-Mustard Dressing**

150g baby turnips, trimmed
1 T vinegar
1 tsp clear honey
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 T olive oil
1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 T shredded fresh mint
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Place the turnips in a saucepan, cover generously with water and add a little salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat under the pan and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the turnips are just tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, honey and mustard powder, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Whisk briefly until smooth and set aside. Drain the turnips thoroughly in a colander. In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the turnips and turn them in the oil for a few minutes until beginning to turn light golden. Add the vinegar-honey mixture and stir until the turnips are well coated and the glaze begins to bubble in the pan. Add the fresh herbs, stir to distribute them evenly, then turn the turnips and glaze onto a serving dish and serve immediately.
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  1. I like turnip, but I have never seen spring turnip. I wonder if I can get it here, because your recipes look lovely.

  2. I adore spring turnips. Great recipes!

  3. Not to fear, I've never come up with zucchini blossoms either. One day.
    Honey-Mustard Dressing on the baby turnips sounds really great.

  4. I have to thin out my turnips on Tuesday and as soon as I get some big enough I'm making this. Yummy!

  5. Oh that salad is stunning.

  6. One of my friends JUST was asking for zucchini blossoms! I'm going to pass your suggestion along to her.

  7. i love honey-mustard sauce on just about anything (especially chicken--is that strange?), so i'll have to try it on some turnips next. great ideas!

  8. I like turnips or as we call them neeps! I really like this idea for them!

  9. I like the diffeent spices you put on these, great idea! The Italians love their zuccini blossoms too,but they are hard to find, I'm thinking of growing my own this year.

  10. i've never had turnips - they look a little like big white radishes. maybe i should try them someday

  11. This is one stunning salad Val!!

    Rosie x

  12. Nice, nice, nice! Lovely recipes.

  13. This sounds wonderful.. I have never cooked turnips..what a great recipe!

  14. Turnips have always posed a huge question to me...what do i do with them? Though we get them only in winter, you've answered my question Val! Love the way you served them!!

  15. How many posts per day are you writting girl? Uf, uf, it's hard to catch your rithym :D Aren't spring veggies the best?

  16. I have never had turnips, but I would love to try this dish!!

  17. I love the roasted baby turnips. I always make the large ones in the fall and winter, but these are perfect for the spring. And who doesn't love a good honey-mustard dressing?


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