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.