Thursday, March 26, 2015

Glazed Turnips

Another rarity arrived in our CSA box: turnips. Not just turnips, but "Tokyo turnips."  Here's how they are described by my CSA:

Tokyo Turnips are a mild, juicy variety of turnip. We eat the tender roots of this plant, which grows in cool weather fall through late spring. Tokyo Turnips are tender, slightly spicy and taste like a cross between a radish and a turnip.

Tokyo turnips are smaller than your typical turnip. They are mostly white but they may have some brown tones on the skin. They lack the purplish hue you see in the typical turnips. Their stems and leaves are also smaller.

Right around the time they arrived in the box, the local SF newspaper had a short article on turnips.

There are various ways to enjoy turnips. They can be eaten raw just like you might eat raw radishes. They can be cooked whole either steamed or roasted. Add them as a side to a BBQ-based dinner. Rub whole or halved turnips with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and grill until lightly charred and slightly soft (15-20 mins.).

For my venture run, I decided to follow the SF Chronicle's suggestion and go the with glazed turnips recipe which is very similar to the Alice's carrots recipe that has become a staple in the house.

Glazed Turnips

  • Butter - 1 generous pat
  • 6 Tokyo turnips - cleaned, trimmed, and quartered
  • salt - dash
  • sugar - dash
  • pepper - freshly cracked black pepper
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. When it foams, add the quartered turnips and shake pan to coat butter. Add pepper, salt, and sugar. Cook for 5 minutes until a golden fringes appear on the edges. Add enough water to come up about just less than 1/3 of the height of the turnip. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower hear and simmer for about 10 minutes until tender. Garnish with herb of choice.

The turnip flavor is very interesting and complex. You get the vegetable blandness of cauliflower but then a bit of mild heat like mustard comes in. A mix of potato flavors and then radish flavors. Looking forward to more opportunities to explore turnips.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Smoked Trout Salad with Arugula and Grapefruit

Smoked trout is increasingly available in supermarkets along side the ever-present smoked salmon. If you eat seafood, it should be added to your repertoire. It's saltier and meatier than smoked salmon and it works well in pastas and salads as well as a pizza topping.

We recently needed to bring a salad to a Mediterranean-themed dinner. I immediately turned to a cookbook I should be getting royalties for. I have given the cookbook as a Christmas gift more than once and when I have brought dishes made from it, I've had people say that they are going home and buying it.

Olives and Oranges, written by Sarah Jenkins and Mindy Fox, is definitely a cookbook I need to mine for more recipes. Jenkins was the daughter of a foreign correspondent and grew up in Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and France absorbing the local cuisine along the way.

This salad was a hit at the dinner and I've made it as a fairly quick weeknight dinner salad.

Smoked Trout Salad with Arugula and Grapefruit


  • Dijon mustard - 1 tablespoon
  • red wine vinegar - 1 tablespoon
  • lemon juice - juice from one lemon
  • shallot - 1 large, thinly sliced
  • garlic - 1 clove, minced
  • grapefruit - 1 large pink grapefruit
  • olive oil - 1/3 cup
  • smoked trout - 8 oz. package
  • red onion - 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • arugula - 5 - 8 oz.
  • salt
  • coarsely ground black pepper

In a bowl, mix together mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the top and bottom off of the grapefruit exposing the fruit. Set grapefruit upright and carefully cut peel and white pith from the fruit flesh. On subsequent cuts, follow along the pith line from the previous cut. Continue until done and cut away any remaining pith. Now that the outside skin is gone you need to remove the side skins to get to the fruit. Segment the fruit and remove the slices from the side skins.

Thinly slice red onion and set aside.

Remove the skin off the trout and flake the meat into a small bowl. Watch for and remove small bones.

Add olive oil to mustard and vinegar dressing. Whisk into a mixture.

Combine trout flakes, grapefruit, and onions in a large bowl. Stir to mix (looking for more bones).

Add arugula and mix.

Add dressing and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately. The acids in the fruit, vinegar, and mustard break down the arugula very quickly. This cannot be made ahead of time.

Season (optional) with salt and pepper and serve.

Because of the high acid in the grapefruit, pair this with a high acid wine like Verdejo, Sancerre, Vouvray, or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

How to get skinless grapefruit segments: