Enjoy the little things they say, and yet so often we take the small moments for granted. There is so much in my mind with all the events affecting the world and our community that I feel almost guilty writing about something so unrelated. We need these breaks though, for our own sanity. We need to stop and appreciate the small things. I wake up very early every morning. Is 5:30 early enough? I enjoy the morning quietness, and I use that time to take a deep breath, to say “thank you,” and to enjoy the little things: the smell of coffee or the sound of water pouring into my teacup. Then I stand by my kitchen door and wait for few minutes in stillness until I see the first sign of the sun coming out. I smile, take a sip of my coffee or tea, send my love to the world, and then go on with my to-do list for the day.
What does that routine have to do with turnips? Absolutely nothing! My only hope is maybe that it will help you stop for a couple of minutes today to admire whatever it is around you.
Another beautiful thing is the fresh produce I’ve been getting every other week from a CSA share from Vitruvian Farms. Including these gorgeous turnips.
I love to cook vegetables in a cast iron and let their sugars caramelize, they become oh-so-pretty, and their flavor is enhanced. Compound butter is something I often make to slab on top of steaks or fish, but it does wonders to vegetables. It is nothing else than adding flavors to room temperature butter. It freezes well, so it is great to make a batch and keep around for any use. On your next stop at the farmer’s market this fall, get yourself some turnips, sear them, and give them a flavorful butter bath for some change.
For the turnips:
4 medium-size turnips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
For the butter:
1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter at room temperature*
1/4 cup pickled peperoncini (from a jar), diced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cut the top of the turnips leaving a small part of the green. Peel turnips and cut into quarters or halves depending on size. In a medium cast iron skillet add olive oil and minced garlic (yes, add the garlic in the cold oil, it will get caramelized at the end of the cooking). Cook over medium heat until the oil warms up and the garlic is fragrant. Add turnips, cut side down. Add a 1/4 cup water and cover, let it steam until turnips are tender, about 10 minutes. If the water evaporates before turnips are cooked through keep adding 1/4 cup at a time, you don’t want to boil them, just let them cook in the steam. When you can insert a fork, and it comes out smoothly, take the cover off and bring up the heat. Once the water evaporates it will start to sear, flip with a fork until browned on all the sides. Transfer to a serving dish.
Make the butter:
While the turnips are cooking, add butter to a medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a whisk until well combined. Taste and add salt as needed.
Add two tablespoons of compound butter to warm turnips and toss gently. Serve immediately.
The remaining compound butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week in a tight lid container, or freeze it for up to 3 months. Add a dollop to a grilled steaks or roasted fish. Enjoy!
*I like to use salted butter, and I only add more salt to adjust the flavor if necessary.
This recipe was adapted from the book Six Seasons: A new way with vegetables by Chef Joshua McFadden