This week's farm share box is predicted to include a bunch of baby turnips -- and it's likely that these will turn up several more times in our share bags as the summer progresses -- which makes us very happy around our house. However, I've heard from some of the farmers that some shareholders aren't sure what to do with them.
Here's answer: blanch them and then use them in salads! Blanch them and toss them with some peas! Blanch them and eat them for snacks with a little salt or some yogurt dip! Blanch them and toss them with the chopped cooked turnip tops. This is good, healthy, flavorful food....
And, not only is it about as simple as could be, but also blanching baby turnips really brings out the sweet-tangy turnipy flavor better than any other way of preparing them.
(By the way, I use the same treatment for radishes, too. It softens the bite of their flavor just a bit and turns the skin a brighter, purer pink. Use them the same as blanched turnips.)
Blanched Baby Turnips
1 bunch baby white turnips (under 1 1/2" diameter)
Trim the roots and the leafy tops from the turnips (and put the tops aside for cooking another time - basically with the same technique as Bok Choi Italiano, which by the way is a good way to cook the Pak Choi -- a darker green variant of bok choi -- in this week's share). Wash the turnips. If over 1" in diameter, cut in half. (No need to peel these!)
Bring a large pot* of salted water to a full rolling boil. Toss in the turnips and cook for around 5 minutes. Taste one - it should be just starting to be tender when it's time to take them out. Fish all the turnips out of the pot with a sieve and dump in a bowl of cold water.** Dump out the water from the bowl and refill it again with cold water, once or twice more until the turnips are cool.
To use the blanched turnips, slice or chop them if they are
on the large side and add to salads or vegetable dishes. Or, reheat
slightly (steam or microwave for a few seconds) and toss in a little butter with some minced parsley, chives
or cilantro for a wonderful vegetable side dish.
*Large pot: one of the tricks for successful blanching is to use a much larger pot than would be necessary just to cover the vegetables with water. The larger volume of boiling water means that when the cooler vegetables are added to the pot the water will not stop boiling, which is essential to producing the best blanched vegetables.
**Cold water. This is the other trick: it stops the cooking instantly, insuring against mushy, overcooked vegetables. Some ice cubes in the bowl for the first rinse is a good idea, since the colder it is the better.