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I belong to something called a CSA, short for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you buy a share of the harvest from a farm your community has made a deal to support. Each week you get a box of whatever they have picked. You don’t know what you are getting or how much. It’s a great way to support the small farmers that are growing quality food but making very little money. It’s also a great way to eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, try some things you might not have, and its fun!

One of items in our box recently was Salad Turnips. They were among the nicest I’ve seen in a while. But so many people don’t know what to do with them! Yes, you can make a salad with them, but don’t let the name discourage you from cooking them as well. Salad turnips are sweeter, juicier and more delicate than a traditional turnip. The first thing I always do is cut off the greens. You can store them separately in a Ziploc bag with a little air caught in it to make them last longer. The greens are delicious in salads, pastas, or cooked on their own the same way you would cook spinach or swiss chard. Be sure you wash all the parts thoroughly, turnips tend to be very sandy (after all they come from the ground) but especially right at the part where the root and the green meet. For the simplest preparation possible you can cut them into eighths, drop them in boiling, salted water until just tender when pierced with a knife (About 5-7 minutes). You don’t want them too cooked or they will become mealy and fall apart. Then hit them with a bit more salt to taste, fresh black pepper and a dollop of nice butter. Toss in a bowl while hot and the water that comes off the turnip will emulsify the melting butter into a creamy sauce. My 3-year-old loves them! I also like to roast them with soy sauce, olive oil, maple syrup and thyme for a more intensely flavored side dish. Finally, you can make a salad with thinly sliced turnips and arugula (was also in our box that week). Season it with salt and pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon and bit of extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat lightly. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano that you have shaved with a peeler. Bellisimo!

Soy Maple Turnips

Serves 2 (as a side dish)

2 lg. Salad Turnips, cut into 1/8ths

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons Extra virgin Olive oil

2 sprigs thyme

  1. Scrub turnips well with a vegetable brush, cut into eighths and place in a baking dish.
  2. Top with remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven and cook 20 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and stir. Cook 10 minutes more, uncovered.
  5. Stir and cook 5 minutes more, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Using a dry towel, grab the baking dish and swirl around turnips to coat them in the thick sauce.Image

Remember, maple syrup is sugar and wants to burn. If you are cooking a small amount of turnips and sauce in a large pan, there is more surface area and more opportunity to burn. Things like the assize of your pan and the size of the cut turnips will affect your cooking time. Keep an eye on them and make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. When the sauce is almost evaporated and thick the turnips are done.

You can drizzle a little extra maple syrup on top for some added sweetness. Enjoy!

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