If you’ve not yet discovered Hakurei turnips, you’re in for a big treat. Sometimes called Japanese turnips, these mild flavoured little beauties have just the faintest and appealing hint of bitterness and are so much more enjoyable than their humble cousin, the rutabaga. I received some lovely organic ones from Luxy Farms as part of this month’s Farmers’ Feast challenge, courtesy of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. I pondered what to do with them as they are quite delicious raw and I certainly didn’t want to overpower their pleasant, peppery flavour. I decided to use some red miso paste from Jambican Studio Gardens, also a vendor at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, as well as some local maple syrup and butter to dress up my turnips. This same method of preparation would work well for radishes. Prepare for your tasters to be happily fooled – I suspect many might not even realize they are eating nutritionally-rich turnips. P.S. Consider making a double batch – the leftovers were just as delicious the next day.
- 1 pound (454 g) Hakurei turnips, with greens attached, if possible
- kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) red or white miso paste
- 4 teaspoons (20 mL) softened butter (or a butter substitute for a vegan version)
- 4 teaspoons (20 mL) maple syrup
- Cut the leafy tops off the turnips and trim any attached tails at the root ends. Scrub under cold running water but do not peel. Cut the turnips into halves, thirds or quarters to yield equal sized pieces approximate 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.
- Put the turnips in a saucepan just large enough to hold them in a single layer and add just enough cold water to cover them by a half inch (1.25 cm). Add a half teaspoon of kosher salt, cover the pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
- When turnips are boiling, reduce heat so it’s at a steady simmer and set a timer for 5 minutes.
- While turnips cook, wash the leafy tops in plenty of water.
- Make the glaze by mixing together miso, butter and maple syrup in a small bowl.
- After 5 minutes of cooking time, check the turnips with the tip of a sharp knife; they should be tender but not mushy. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes longer if needed.
- Add the turnip leaves and cook for 1 minute more then immediately remove the pot from the heat and drain all the water out.
- Add the miso mixture and swirl the pot gently to coat the turnips and leaves well.
- With two forks, remove the turnip leaves from the pot and arrange them on the bottom of a serving platter.
- Return the pot to medium-low heat and allow sauce to reduce and thicken slightly for 2 minutes, stirring gently.
- Place the glazed turnips on top of the leaves on the platter, being sure to scrape all the sauce out of the pot. Grind a little black pepper over top.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 2 – 3 as a side dish.