Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Roasted Turnips and Sauteed Greens

let's eat the whole damn thing, leaf to root.
Roasted Turnips with Sauteed Turnip Greens
Perfect local red turnips from the Egleston Farmers Market.

Admittedly, my love affair with turnips is still in its infancy. For most of the nearly two decades I've spent as a vegetarian (ouch I'm getting old...) they were culinary persona non grata. As so often happens, in my mind turnips fell victim to the same stigma that follows the poor maligned Brussels sprout around. A vague childhood memory of something mushy and tasteless or a lifetime of people saying "Turnips? Yuck." turned me against them. A now familiar story in my culinary book, it was the pickle that first began to shift my view. Pickled turnips in Middle Eastern food were an absolute revelation. One that lead me to further explore the potential of these beautiful tubers.

They are an absolute nutritional powerhouse; the roots are chock full of vitamin C and the greens pack in the vitamins A, C and K as well as folate, calcium and lutein. Wowza. This recipe makes the most of the whole bunch; roasting the bulbs (which brings out their sweetness), sauteing the greens and serving them together. It's one of those leaf to root recipes we've discussed before. Perfect as a dish all on its own or paired with a grain or protein of your choosing. My absolute favorite way to serve up this dish is to simply plate the turnips and greens together and serve with pesto.
A perfect one bowl meal.

Scarlet turnips are readily available at my local farmers market this time of year, so that's what I use. They are smaller and more tender and do not need to be peeled before roasting. You can easily use a more traditional turnip variety in this recipe, just peel the larger ones, as the skin is much more fibrous.

Roasted Red Turnips and Sauteed Greens
(serves 2)

1 bunch of turnips
with greens attached
2Tbsp olive oil
2tsp lemon juice
3/4tsp regular or smoked paprika
1/2tsp salt
pepper to taste

To roast turnips:
Separate greens from turnips and set aside.
Scrub and rinse turnips well, leaving skins on.
Cut into equal sized wedges about 1/2" thick.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a glass baking dish or rimmed baking sheet combine turnips, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1tsp lemon juice, 1/2tsp paprika and  1/4tsp salt.
Toss to coat.
Roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

To prepare greens:
Thoroughly wash greens and trim lower , tougher stems.
If the higher parts of the stem appear more tender, leave them attached.
Now this is a matter of preference- the greens can either be left whole
or coarsely chopped before sauteing.
In a medium skillet, heat remaining olive oil and lemon juice over medium-low heat.
Add greens and stir to combine.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until greens brighten and become tender.
Add 1/4tsp paprika, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more.

Serve roasted turnips and greens together, on their own or accompanied
by a protein or grain of your choice.

Roasted turnips and sauteed greens with a side of pesto.
Perfect, perfect, perfect.

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