Do you ever buy a vegetable at the farmer’s market out of a weird sense of duty? “I should eat more root vegetables.” That’s how I ended up with 5 turnips lurking in my fridge for the last month. I think the same principle applies to duty Netflix – Bergman’s Cries and Whispers and Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller once sat on top of my television for an entire year.
I’d only ever enjoyed turnips once before. It was March in Paris, and the chef had put tiny roasted turnips and their sauteed greens around the edges of a plate of lamb and white beans with rosemary. It’s hardly fair – everything tastes better in France.
Today I decided to face those turnips and stare them down. I peeled them. I sliced them. I wrinkled my nose at their sharp and funky smell. I threw them in a pan with 2 peeled and sliced apples, a tablespoon of butter, some salt, a dribble of white wine, and a sprinkle of allspice and boiled the holy hell out of everything until most of the liquid was absorbed and I could mash the turnips with a fork. Those suckers are sturdy and fibrous, so plan on about an hour, covered at a low simmer, to get them mashable . I salted everything, tossed in some more butter and a few tablespoons of buttermilk, and went to town. And the result was:
Delicious. A perfect fall side dish – earthy and buttery. The apples take the sharpness out of the turnips. And that big piece of meat you see there is a pork chop, brined in red wine and salt water, cooked in a cast iron skillet, and allowed to rest while a bunch of chopped red and white onion (leftovers from other recipes) carmelized in that same skillet with some apple cider and fresh rosemary from my friend E’s garden.
If you don’t like turnips, this recipe won’t make you magically like them, but it contains enough butter and salt to convert someone who is on the fence.
Welcome to November.