Wednesday, February 23, 2011
An unusual surprise garden treat
Our garden is tilled and we are in the planting stages for our late winter/early spring garden.
When my husband (who is our expert family tiller) revved up his engine to till the soil, he uncovered some leftover vegetables deep in the soil where our turnip greens had grown in the fall. There were several pounds of turnips that were uncovered by the tilling process. He collected them and decided to bring them home to see if we could do something with them.
Washing them was a chore and I don't have a photo of how dirty they were when he brought them home but after that job was done I thought we might cook them, though I can't say I was enthusiastic about it.
Even though it is nice to get anything you didn't expect, turnips were never my favorite food. I like turnip greens but the turnips were always something I avoided as a child. I think my mother must have understood this because she never forced me to eat them -- maybe to take an occasional bite but I can't remember anything more than a very small bite and then saying, "No thanks."
They were usually chopped into small pieces boiled in water and served with butter and salt. I didn't think this was a good idea for our few pounds of turnips -- at least not for me, so I decided to try roasting them.
My husband had also brought home some stray garlic greens that had grown up in the garden and since baby garlic really has a mild flavor, somewhat like leeks, I decided to try roasting them together.
My first job was peeling the turnips. I thought that after overwintering, they might be hard and pithy but they were mild, sweet and tender.
I cut them in small pieces, lined a pan with parchment paper and oiled the paper with olive oil. Then I put all the cut up pieces of turnip and chopped garlic greens onto the parchment paper, added salt and pepper and poured about two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the top and stirred them a bit with a spatula. I then placed them into a 400 degree oven.
I stirred them about every 15 minutes and cooked them about 40 minutes until they were tender and browned on the edges.
My roasted turnips were a success. Even my 5 year old grandson ate a few. I think the really thought they were potatoes ... but he ate them. My husband was happy because I cooked what he brought home and adding the roasted turnips to my meal of grilled chicken, sugar peas, salad made it a little bit of a treat.