Try It. You’ll Like It.
I’ve confessed to my disinterest in cooked turnips before. Is it coincidence that I’m once again lacking inspiration as I try to write this post for a turnip recipe? Something about this bulbous root vegetable just fails to wind my clock, toot my whistle, or even tickle my fancy.
Still, I decided to give cooked turnips another try since I had found some gorgeous Purple Top White Globe turnips (and Honeycrisp apples too) at a farm stand the day after Christmas that I just couldn’t say “no” to on account of their perfect lavender-blushed spheres. These Purple Tops dwarfed the baby Hakureis I still had from Weavers Way Farm’s last turnip harvest in late autumn. I wasn’t sure that it was a wise idea to cook them together, given the young ones might cook much faster. I’m decidedly undecided by times so I used both in the recipe. In the end, slicing them thin negated any concern about different cooking times.
Wondering why I undertook a new recipe for something I was fairly certain I wouldn’t like? The recipe’s creator, Chef Anne Quatrano, is the owner of three restaurants in Atlanta that all abide by one creed: simplicity with subtle complexities. I like that. She and her main squeeze also work her family farm to raise provisions for the restaurants. Now this is a woman after my own heart! I figured I could trust her.
For this particular recipe, she boasts that people who tell her wait staff that they’d like to substitute fries for this side dish because they don’t like turnips always end up eating the complimentary dish she sends out anyway. Apparently no one can resist the charm of Caramelized Apples and Turnips. Seeing as how I don’t like not liking any vegetable, I was ready to be converted, and this seemed to be my best shot at salvation.
I’m saved! I like cooked turnips! Or at least turnips that have been caramelized along with Honeycrisp apples that cooked down into a rustic applesauce in the skillet. I ate the whole bowl with a big grin on my face. I guess Chef Anne Quatrano was right. The subtle complexities of these turnips are irresistible: sweet, but not overly; rich, but not heavy; a little turnip “bite”, but not bitter; and soft, but not mushy.
I think I’ll go now and write my first-ever piece of fan mail!
CARAMELIZED APPLES AND TURNIPS
Adapted from Chefs A’Field/Chef Anne Quatrano
2 T. butter
2 lbs. turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large Honeycrisp (or similar) apple, peeled and thinly sliced
1 t. maple syrup
1 t. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable stock
1 t. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet until very hot. Add the turnips and apples and cook until golden, tossing to brown on all sides. Add maple syrup, stir quickly and sprinkle with sugar. Add the stock and simmer for five minutes, covered. Stir in remaining teaspoon of butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately garnished with a fresh herb sprig.
(serves 2-3 as a side dish)