Fresh turnips are in full supply right now at Southern farmers markets and they’re one of the easiest and most satisfying winter veggies to prepare. I picked some up last week from the Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge. If you’re not yet in the habit of cooking turnips, give them try. And if their reputation for bitterness scares you or your kids, fear not. Roasting brings out their natural sweetness. Another secret is how you peel them.
Bitter notes lie just under the surface of the skin, but you can eliminate this if you go a little deeper when peeling them. I use a paring knife instead of vegetable peeler to remove the thick outer later. (Look at a cross-section of a turnip, and you can see a sort of dividing line under the surface — a natural breakpoint if you will. Cut down to that, and you’ll be fine. Turnips are naturally peppery and have a wonderful, sturdy texture.
Serves 6 to 8
7 cups peeled and cubed fresh turnips
3 tablespoons (1/4 cup) olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss turnips in a large bowl with olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper, coating evenly. Spread on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan and cook for 45 minutes. Turnips should be fork tender and nicely browned.
Turnips are great on their own, but you can also roast them with parsnips and sliced sweet potato for a yummy winter medley.