Turnips, long a vegetabilis non-grata in my kitchen. Their positive attributes - juicy interior, good nutritional value and attractive appearance - never made up for their bitterness and I'm a bitter gal. Aperol, Campari, dark chocolate, citrus peel, love them all - except the turnip.
Yet last Monday, after a hectic day at work, I found myself at my dining room table swooning over a plate of turnips, ones I had prepared no less. And I never would have gotten there if I didn't shop with local farmers.
Last Saturday as I made my rounds of the market, sweating and cursing late summer days in Georgia, Cory Mosser of Burge Organic Farm started talking turnips. He sold a bunch to the customer before me by suggesting putting them in the broiler with some olive oil, sea salt and balsamic.
Nice try, dude. Been there, done that and remain unconverted. I had eyes only for the lovely red onions at his stand, but Mosser had plans for his last bunch of turnips. Sensing his sales tactic, I cut him off. "I've tried them with the salt and olive oil, I just don't like them." Undeterred, Mosser tried a new tact.
"But have you tried them the French way?"
I paused, and sensing an opportunity he gestured at the lovely little bunch of white orbs and continued. "It's really simple: butter, white wine, salt and a little sugar and let it all cook down."
I'm sure you already know how this ends - I bought them, cooked them, loved them and will buy some more at the market this weekend.
So my turnip lesson is this: if you are lucky enough to have a local farmers market, go! You'll be surprised at what you find and you'll have easy conversations with folks who know good food. And also, try turnips the French way and delight in the crispy caramelized exterior and the juicy bitter interior.
What's your stance on turnips? Got a favorite way to eat 'em? Plant your thoughts in the comments below.