Friday, March 11, 2011


Turnips, a root vegetable I have been familiar with, are a food I only recall eating plain and raw, with salt. 
As a small boy I would eat one very occasionally. They packed a little bit of a sharp taste, sort of like a radish, but not nearly as strong. The larger turnips, the ones we would normally eat, would normally have a little bend in them - they were not real crisp. I recently ate a small turnip and found that it was quite crisp and more flavorful. The purple portion of the turnip is the part of the root that has been above ground and changed color as a result of sunlight. 
Turnip leaves, which I don't recall seeing in stores, can be eaten as "turnip greens" and are similar to mustard greens in taste. I have recently eaten pickled turnip in several Mediterranean restaurants which is quite good. Turnips were a staple food in Greece and Rome and were popular in Britain, a staple, before arrival of the potato. They are commonly braised, roasted, sauteed and boiled, although I don't recall ever eating it prepared in that way. I recently used some boiled in root vegetable soup I made which I"ll be blogging on. They are one of the 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die
After the initial post, I decided to try frying some turnip in olive oil. 
It was like a revelation to me. It softened up, took on the nice taste of the oil and salt and was much like fried potato. 
I can now understand why it was such a popular dish before the introduction of the potato in Europe. It really does have a variety of uses. It is something I will use in the future because it is such a fun, unexpected addition to dishes for which potatoes are the usual staple. 

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