Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Braised Baby Turnips and Carrots

Mikado baby turnips

Wow, this really exceeded my expectations. Sometimes the most simple preparations are the best, and of course it doesn't hurt to use vegetables plucked fresh from the garden. The baby turnips are very mild and almost sweet, and of course the carrots are sweet, but big surprise, the turnip tops were sweet also, I had expected them to have some bite or heat but there was just a bare hint of that. This is based on the recipe of the same name from Chez Panisse Vegetables, with just some slight alterations on my part.

I used about 10 ounces of Mikado baby turnips, harvested when they were about 1 1/4-inches in diameter, give or take 1/4 inch (about a dozen turnips with their tops). Trim off the thin tap root and remove the leaves leaving about 1/2-inch of the stems attached. Reserve all but the yellowing or battered leaves, trim off the larger stems if desired. Scrub the roots lightly but don't peel them.

Use a like amount of baby carrots, I had a mix of purple, white, and orange carrots, tops removed with a bit of the stems left, lightly scrubbed. The carrots were large enough that I cut most of them in half lengthwise.

Put a few tablespoons of butter in a medium sized skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, add the turnips and carrots and a couple of tablespoons of water, toss everything together. Cover the pan and bring the contents to a boil, toss the vegetables again, place the turnip leaves on top of the vegetables, cover the skillet and let everything steam for a moment or so. Toss the vegetables again, recover the pan and let everything steam a moment, do that a few times more until the veggies are tender but not soft. Season with salt (truffle salt!) and pepper and serve. And don't trim off the green stems, the stems on the baby vegetables are tender and sweet also.

This made enough to serve the two of us.

Next time I have to try to take a photo, it was a very pretty dish. I really wish the lighting in my kitchen was more conducive to photography, but most of the photos come out awful so I rarely bother with photographing finished dishes.

I definitely have to grow more of these. They are easy to grow, I sowed the seeds directly on October 21, they germinated quite quickly, but they did take quite a bit longer than the 30 days to harvest stated on the seed packet, my first real harvest was yesterday, a bit more than 2 months to the first harvest. That's to be expected though, everything grows much more slowly in the short days of winter. I imagine that spring sown seeds will size up much more quickly. One of the turnips had a bit of damage from something that bored into it, so I trimmed out the damaged part and consumed that turnip raw to see if it is actually tasty that way (as claimed on the seed packet), and indeed it is. I'll be trying some of these in a salad with the next harvest. They would make a great addition to a crudité platter as well.


  1. The time to harvest claimed by most seed-merchants is always optimistic. Even Radishes seldom mature in 30 days. Still, those turnips look well-nigh perfect, so they were probably worth waiting for. Unfortunately I find Turnips very prone to damage by borers of some sort - weevils or whatever, so I struggle to produce nice ones.

  2. I love those turnips too. Both raw and cooked. They are just so good. I get root maggots in mine at times. Maybe wireworms too.

  3. Sounds delicious. I haven't eaten turnips in years but they are on my grow list for next year. They are just another in a long list of veg that I can't wait to grow, even though in the past I haven't given them a second glance in the grocery store - experimenting & wanting to try new things is one of the many (many!) benefits of having a vegetable garden.

  4. I haven't had much luck going anything in my garden this winter. I think it was a lack of care on my part (though my garlic, planted in December, is looking nice). I mostly just threw a handful of seeds that had gotten mixed together on the ground to see if anything happened. Those are really pretty turnips and I might have to try them next year.

  5. I grew these this winter also - seeds from 'Renee's Garden'. I really like them raw on salad. We roasted them, but over-cooked them into mush... tasty mush, but still mush.
    Emily - i find turnips to be one of the easiest vegetables to grow, like kale.


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