Thursday, December 9, 2004

Turnip over a new leaf

Hallo guv'ner, and 'ow are you this fine evenin'? Care fer a bite o' somethin'? 'Fraid all I 'ave is this 'ere bowl of turnips.

Ahem. Excuse me while I get this Cockney bit out my system. Ooooow! The rine in spine sties minely in the pline! Come on, Dover, move yer bloomin' arse!

There now, I'm Eliza Doolittle'd out. Back to the turnips, which, being most identified with British and Northern European (rather than Filipino) cuisines, are new to me. I turned to this recipe:

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3 lb turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
1 can, or 2 1/2 cups broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
I melted a pat of butter (1/2 stick is too much for anything, really) and some olive oil in a heavy pot, then stirred in the turnips. The turnips peeled surprisingly easily, revealing a white crisp flesh that looked a lot like a potato.

Broth, sugar, and salt went in next; once it boiled, I reduced heat to simmer, covered, until turnips are just tender, 25 to 30 minutes. (Will you be proud of me if I told you that, finding that I didn't have a pot lid big enough for my skillet, I improvised by using a pizza pan? Well, I'm proud of me.) I boiled the turnips, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid was reduced enough to just glaze turnips, about 15 minutes, then topped with with scallions and parsley.

The result was perhaps a tad overcooked, since it ended up being somewhat more mushy than I anticipated. What was more surprising was how like potatoes it was like. It had a slightly different taste, but the texture was quite similar. The whole dish was actually good. I'm still a bit unbelieving. After all, "turnip" just doesn't have that "yummy in my tummy" sound to it. But what's in a name?

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