Turnips or rutabagas have been in my life as long as I can remember. My mother would cut them up, and cook them with of course… turnip greens mixed with a bit of pork (it’s a southern thing that I’d like to abolish). She would get so “turnt-up” (slang for party mode) when she got access to some turnips during the cooler months. I must admit, it made my existence miserable kinda like James Caan felt in the movie Misery. I’d see them in the bag when she came home from the market, and I knew it was only a matter of time before they’d be funking up the kitchen with their earthy scent. She’d cook them, and hum a million and one songs while contemplating my demise I suppose. They’d go from the pot to my plate in such a short time in my mind. I was as ready for them as I was an unsatisfactory report card. And as always, I’d try my best to fork through them to devour the greens, and pieces of pork only. But judgment day was always near, and my mom would rain down her fury and force feed me like a Sam- I – Am on crack (Green Eggs and Ham-My favorite Dr. Seuss book). Well maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but the truth is, I couldn’t stand them, and mom couldn’t stand the idea of me not eating them. Vicious cycle. But I digress yet again. Somewhere between puberty and culinary school those same turnips became a whole lot more palatable, and somehow I grew to love them. Mom would be proud.
Turnips have a very earthy taste for a good reason, see, they grown below the earth’s surface, somewhere dark amongst the earthworms, and creepy crawlies. During their growth cycle they soak up all of the earth’s goodness which in turn makes them hella nutritious. One cup of raw turnips carry 27 milligrams of vitamin C, 8.5 grams of carbohydrates, a good deal of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc (Tremblay, 2013). That’s really common amongst any and all vegetables that grow so close to the earth. And I’m so glad. Not only because they are packed with nutrition, but also because I’ve grown to love them. In my opinion, that’s good reason to get turnt-up! Try this unbelievably good recipe from The New York Times and join me in celebrating one of earth’s jewels.
Chef Will Hall
Smashed Turnips With Fresh Horseradish
8 large turnips (about 2 pounds), peeled and quartered
1/2 cup sour cream
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish, or more to taste
2 teaspoons salt
1. Place the turnips in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until fork-tender, about 25 minutes. Drain thoroughly, until completely dry.
2. Place the turnips in a bowl and, while they are still hot, add the sour cream, scallions, horseradish and salt. Mash with a wire whisk or potato masher until well combined but still chunky. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
PARKER-POPE, T. (2011, 11 14). The meatball shop goes vegetarian. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/the-meatball-shop-goes-vegetarian/
Tremblay, L. (2013). Nutrition facts of raw turnip. Retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrion-raw-turnip-2086.html
Turnip image. (2013, 10). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Turnip_2622027.jpg