Before growing vegetables for market, I don't think I ever ate a turnip. If there was a time, I can only think of maaaybe eating mashed turnips. Once. But like kohlrabi, turnips have surprised me as being quite delicious.
This season, we grew the Japanese variety of white turnips called Hakurei. This variety is more mild (less spicy like a radish) and has a tender skin that does not need to be peeled. Hakurei turnips are delicious raw (even Edith ate them like apples) and make for a great salad topping. They also cook well, becoming even more mild. We have substituted them for potatoes in broth and soups and sautéed them with other veggies. But roasted, Hakurei turnips become tender, slightly caramelized, and gain an almost buttery, nutty flavor.
Here is how I usually roast turnips, with a little added pizzaz with the nuts.
Roasted turnips with toasted hazelnuts
- Turnips (When cooking for a crowd of 6-8, I'll use roughly 10 medium turnips, fill a half-sheet pan, and have leftovers.)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts (Other nuts, I'm thinking particularly almonds, would work too)
- Preheat oven to 400F. (Up to 450F also works if you are short on time and/or really love those crispy caramelized bits.)
- Wash turnips (if necessary) and chop into even, bite-sized pieces. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil then sprinkle well with salt (start with 1/2 tsp.) and freshly ground pepper, according to taste. Toss together. (I usually use my hands and do it right on the pan. Saves washing a bowl & utensil -- I'd rather just wash my hands!)
- Place turnips into preheated oven and roast for 30-45min or until tender and caramelized, stirring once halfway through. (At higher temps, 20-30 min is a safer window.)
- While turnips are roasting, toast hazelnuts on the stovetop over low heat, keeping a watchful eye to avoid scorching. Once fragrant and lightly browned, immediately remove from pan and dump onto a cutting board. Chop finely and set aside.
- When turnips are done roasting, move to serving dish. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Add toasted hazelnuts and toss. Enjoy!