If your experience is like mine, you’ve never encountered the phrase “salad turnips” before shopping at a farmer’s market or being a member of a CSA. Salad turnips are, in my experience, much closer to radishes than to turnips. Visually, they even look like white radishes:
The entire plant is edible. The bulb at the bottom is like a radish, though usually with a bit more of a sharp bite. The greens can be used the same way one would use beet greens (or, actually, radish greens). The bulbs can, as the name suggests, be put into salads, which is perfectly delicious. My fellow CSA members have suggested that roasting them is a way to curb the sharpness and bring out the sweetness. Every year, I enter the season intending to experiment… and then they all disappear. How do I eat salad turnips? Like chips:
I scrub the bulbs, halve them, and then cut them in thin half-moons. I then use them to dip in hummus. They are DELICIOUS like this. I’m dead serious when I say that there are none left to experiment with each time they appear in a share.
So, let’s talk about the greens. Today, Farmer John suggested that they could be sauteed or put into a soup.
Since we had onions and bell peppers in today’s share, I have garlic around from the Pocono Garlic Festival, and it was an egg week (we get egg/poultry shares from Griggstown Farm on alternate weeks), I decided to make a fritatta. Normally, one thinks of a fritatta as a dinner meal. Sometimes, we eat them for dinner, but often I’ll make them ahead for breakfasts for a few days.
Fritattas are basically crustless quiches. I sauteed the onions in extra virgin olive oil over medium low heat until they got soft, then added the garlic for about a minute. Then I added the red bell peppers and salad turnip greens until the greens started to wilt. In a separate bowl, I scrambled 6 eggs with some milk, some pepper, and some parmesan cheese. I poured that into the pan, and cooked it over medium heat until the eggs mostly set, then transferred the skillet to the broiler until the top was cooked.
The beauty of the fritatta is that, aside from the eggs, milk, and (usually) cheese, all of the ingredients are up for debate. Onions and garlic are always good. some other vegetable is tasty. Sausage, ham, or chicken is able to be added. Greens always work – mustard greens, tatsoi, spinach, kale, beet greens, carrot tops… It’s all about method. Sautee, pour over scrambled egg mixture, set, broil.
I only used about half of the greens in the fritatta, so I was left with a choice. I chose soup. I’d originally planned for Wednesday night’s dinner to be a soup that I’d frozen in the spring, along with salad, but I made a soup that will take its place.
I sauteed onion and garlic, then added potato and sauteed for a while longer. Then I added salad turnip greens and sauteed until they started to wilt. I added homemade vegetable stock, a can of cannelini beans, and spiced to taste. I simmered until the potatoes got soft, and ta-daa! I have half of dinner for tomorrow.
So, today’s lesson is: salad turnips are awesome. If they’re a choice in your share, get them. If you see them in the farmer’s market, get them. GET THEM. EAT ALL THE SALAD TURNIPS.
Chomp, chomp. Nom, nom. Goodnight.