June 17, 2011
Posted By: Food Fights
By Leigh Ripley
I recently joined the Cloud Nine Farm CSA and picked up my first installment of veggies: baby lettuce mix, arugula, carrots, chives, ‘Hakurei’ salad turnips and for an extra bonus, tomato and basil seedlings.
The carrots were easy; they were clean, cute, bright orange and sporting full green plumage. Simply feed them to curious kids who want to eat like a ‘real’ rabbit. The tomato and basil seedlings were planted in the dirt and the arugula and lettuce mix went toward salad and sandwich fixings for the week.
Then there was that bunch of ‘Hakurei’ salad turnips. They were pretty enough, perfectly round, white and accented by large green leaves. Unfortunately, what I saw as beautiful translated to ‘BE WARNED OF NEW VEGGE THING MOM WANTS ME TO EAT” to my kids. Needless to say, introducing a new veggie to my family is tricky business. Thus, the kitchen chemist came out in me.
If it’s a root, it should be dense enough to function like a potato. This brings me to scalloped potatoes, one of my family’s favorite comfort foods. Maybe I can use the herbs of a scalloped potato dish and serve it with the sweet, starchy ‘Hakurei’ salad turnip, yet make it summer friendly (i.e. not too heavy and viable for room temperature serving).
A few mistakes and an hour later I made an important conclusion; while the ‘Hakurei’ salad turnip is a great substitute for potato, it cooks in about half the time (it’s also much better raw).
So, back to my scalloped potato idea… here’s what I came up with, which I pawned off on my family as “Double T Taters” a.k.a. the Turnip Tater.
Cut salad turnips into ¼” slices
Salt and pepper one side
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan and sear salad turnips, seasoned side down, over high heat 2-3 minutes
Meanwhile, salt and pepper exposed side
Flip and sear another 2-3 minutes
Transfer to a plate and keep warm or cover to warm later
This can also be done on the grill, but a mesh grill pan is recommended, as the salad turnips tend to break in half if overcooked and will thus end up as seasoning for your charcoal or propane fire.
To broil, spray a cooking sheet with non-stick spray or olive oil and line with seasoned salad turnips, seasoned side up. Broil until a minute or two until browned, flip and season then broil another minute or two until browned.
Scalloped Potato-Like Sauce:
Combine ¼ cup of diced chives with ½ cup of sour cream (light is fine, or even plain Greek yogurt)
Add a pinch of crushed red pepper if desired
To serve, mound ‘Hakurei’ salad turnips on a plate, garnish with additional chives and Scalloped Potato-Like Sauce.
Going for broke? Add a little Gruyere cheese.
Worth mentioning, these little turnips are delicious raw and the leaves are edible as well.