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Monday, September 28, 2009

Recipe: Turnip Salad with Apples and Lemon Dressing

Turnips and Turnip Salad

by Victoria Challancin

As a member of the Brassiaceae Family (formerly Cruciferae), the humble turnip is not only low in calories, but also packed with fiber and nutrients. An excellent source of Vitamin C, folic acid, manganese, pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), and copper, turnips also offer a very good source of potassium, niacin, and magnesium. Although probably native to western Asia, the turnip migrated to Europe thousands of years ago, where it was a daily staple before the advent of the New World potato. Loved by the ancient Greeks and Romans, the turnip was popular in those cultures as both human food and animal fodder. Pliny the Elder, in fact, considered it one of the most important vegetables.

In northern Europe turnips are often enjoyed in stews. In Turkey, a popular juice made of turnips and fermented carrots is believed to be a hangover cure. And my own father always grew turnips in our garden in Florida as a part of our beloved stable of Southern "greens" to be enjoyed for the leaves as well as the roots.

Thrilled to find turnips, both the leaves and the roots, at a local organic farm here in San Miguel de Allende, I often just slice them on a mandoline, boil them lightly in water, and serve them with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Simple and utterly delicious. I also like to use them raw, along with kohlrabi, in a variety of salads. The following recipe was one I found in Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables, a terrific cookbook written by John Peterson, who is an old friend of my husband.

Turnip Salad with Apples and Lemon Dressing
(Recipe from Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables)
Makes about 2 cups.

Note: Chopped nuts or sunflower seeds would make a nice addition.

1 cup peeled and grated raw young turnips (about 2 medium turnips)

1 cup peeled and grated Granny Smith apples

1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Toss the turnips, apples, parsley, lemon juice, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

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