Many folks who don’t like turnips usually think of the big, hearty, strong tasting, occasionally bitter fall staples on Thanksgiving tables and in stews. While beloved by turnip lovers, they can turn some palates off these healthy brassicas rich in Vitamin A, C, folate and minerals. If you can’t take the strong taste of most turnips, try Hakurei turnips. These Japanese variety that often show up at farmers markets and gardens in spring are delicate, sweet, not bitter or strong with a fresh taste in the root and the greens that even kids can love. They are great raw, sliced thin in salads. Don’t waste the greens–glaze the turnips with butter and a bit of sugar, roast and add the greens at the end to enjoy all the sweet fresh flavor and nutrients these turnips offer.
Tangy sweet roasted Hakureis just might change a turnip hater's mind about these healthy root vegetables.
- 1 large bunch Hakurei turnips with greens
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or maple syrup)
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Sliced turnips into 1/4 inch round slices. Chop turnip greens into small pieces.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat in large oven-safe sauté pan and cook turnips about 5 minutes until browned.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pan to oven and cook for another 10 minutes until almost tender.
- Combine remaining tablespoon of butter with chopped tarragon to create a compound butter.
- Add chopped greens to pan, stir and add tarragon butter, stir again and roast another five minutes until greens are al dente and crisped around the edges.
- Adjust seasonings and serve in a bowl or platter. Add lemon juice immediately before serving.
Hakurei turnips are also great for making easy quick pickles–use them with red radishes, carrots and onion and use as a garnish for sandwiches, sausage, pork roasts and other higher fat meat dishes to accent and cut the richness.
Quick Radish and Turnip Pickles
6 small Hakurei turnips, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
6 French breakfast radishes, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
1/2 red or white onion, julienned
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1. Place turnips, radishes and onion in a large bowl and add 1/2 tablespoon salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes and then drain. Return to bowl and add carrots and ginger to bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, sugar and lime juice.
3. Pour over vegetables, stir thoroughly. Cover or place in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to 12 hours/overnight. Taste along the way to see if it’s pickled enough for your taste.
4. Drain and use immediately or within the next week.