Monday, June 22, 2009

sex and the turnip

I'm wondering if you have met the turnip.
Have you met this turnip? This is not your hearty, slightly intimidating Eastern European seeming turnip. This is a spring turnip, and if you have not met, consider this a set up. Because I know you will like each other. And although this is usually a family friendly scene over here, once you have met, we're going to turn the lights down, and things are going to get a bit indecent.
This turnip is the sexiest vegetable you haven't tried. Plump and white, full of flesh and juice. And most importantly, subtlety and surprise. This turnip will push you past your comfort zone, and you might need a drink first, but once you relax a bit, you will feel sensations that will delight you and take you to new places.
Very few are immune to the lure of the white turnip. The other day, I was in the kitchen, slicing a ball of ripe, fresh mozzarella. Joey came up behind me, his hand quietly attempting to sneak a bite. He stopped mid grab with a sigh.
"What?" I asked.
"I thought it was a turnip."
The season is almost over, so look for them at the market. They'll come back in the fall, and you will be so happy to see them again. Eat them raw, caramelize them, or, my new favorite, turn them into soup. Be prepared though- you make this soup and the night could take a turn that you weren't expecting.

Turnip and Turnip Greens Soup
from Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food

makes 2 quarts, 4 to 6 servings

2 bunches of young turnips with greens
3 T butter or olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 Bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
6 cups homemade chicken broth (water will work too)
olive oil and parmesan, for garnish

Remove the greens from the turnips. Trip and discard the stems. Wash and drain the greens and cut them into thin strips. Trim the roots from the turnips, halve or quarter them, depending on their size, and slice them thin.
Warm a heavy pot over medium heat and add the butter, then the onion. Cook until soft, about 12 minutes. Add the turnips, bay leaf, thyme and some salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, bring down to a simmer, and cook for ten minutes. Add the greens and cook for another ten minutes or so. Salt to taste and serve topped with a pit of olive oil and parmesan.

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