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East Local Challenge– Ick! Turnips

As I posted recently my first CSA produce share turned out pretty well. I was able to use most of the vegetables within the week keeping waste to a minimum. My second bag proved a bit more challenging – turnips! When I first pulled them out of the bag my initial thought was “how beautiful!” They were white graduating into a pretty purple with a soft top of lovely greens. They were picturesque for sure. But, really, what on earth was I going to make with turnips?!?
I quickly turned to a couple of “eating local” cookbooks I had.

  • Beef Stew with Root Vegetables. Out! I don’t eat beef stew in the summer.
  • Sage Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad. Sounded good but, again, not the right season.
  • Market Ragout of Turnips, Kohlrabi and Peas. This had potential since I also got shell peas in my share this week but the recipes was WAY too complex for this working mom.

I did a quick search online and learned that turnips was traditionally considered a “poor man vegetable” because it was added as a filler to many stews and other dishes. Not very helpful. As a last resort, I went to one of my 2 “go to” cookbooks – The New Basics by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins. Bingo!
The Turnips Anna recipe looked pretty tasty and simple – only 4 ingredients (including salt/pepper). A basic galette you simply slice the turnips thin, saute them in butter, lay them in a round cake pan overlapping them a bit, top with chopped shallots, salt & pepper, and finally bake for 30 minutes on 425.
I began the recipe. After the saute in butter part, I took a taste to see how I was going to like this. Ick! Turnips. I wasn’t that impressed but I was determined so I had to think quickly. What could I do to make this work? Then it came to me – cheese! Cheese always makes things taste better. I whipped up a classic roux and since I only had cheddar I ended up making turnip au gratin.
And, you know what, they weren’t so bad. I felt a bit guilty about blatantly using cheese to mask the taste of them but, you know what, I ended up eating them and not throwing them away. The rest of my family passed on the cheesy turnips. Anyone out there have a good summer turnip recipe for next time?

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