Turnips get a bad rap. We either forget that they exist or relegate them to some depression-era food of yesteryear. But turnips are as versatile as potatoes and as tasty, too. Just be sure to clean or peel your turnips, and trim off the stem and root ends, before cooking them. There’s another reason turnips should be the stars of your spooky season: they’re the O.G. jack-o’-lanterns! As lore has it, the pumpkin-based jack-o’-lantern we know today is rooted (ha) in an Irish folktale about a sly dude named Jack who played some tricks on the devil and was relegated to walk the earth for eternity, carrying a burning coal in a hollowed turnip! Because of this, folks would carve scary faces into turnips to ward off evil spirits, so save a few of these veggies for your Halloween decor.
Make pickling brine by filling a big pot with 4 coffee cups of water, 3 heaping handfuls of kosher salt, 1 coffee cup of cider vinegar or white vinegar, a good pinch each of coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and hot chili flakes. (For a sweeter pickle, add a handful of sugar too.) Bring to a boil. Peel 6 or 7 turnips and cut into half-moons. Put them in big, heat-resistant jars, then pour in the hot pickle brine. They’ll be pickled in a few days, but will taste way better if you wait a week. Store in fridge.
Wash, peel, and cut 6 or 7 turnips into even, bite-size pieces. Put them in a pot, cover with cold water, throw in a handful of kosher salt, and bring to a boil (for a garlic mash, add a couple of peeled garlic cloves, too). Cook until soft, about 30 minutes or so. Meanwhile, warm up a coffee cup of milk and melt a few good plops of butter. Drain your turnips and mash them while hot, in a food processor or with your muscles in a big bowl. Mix in the milk/butter, and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Roasted Root Veggies
Scrub or peel 3 or 4 turnips, and 3 or 4 carrots (feel free to sub other root veggies like fennel or parsnips), and cut into half-moons or wedges. Peel 4 shallots and cut in half (quarters if they’re large). Preheat oven to 400. Toss veggies with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil to coat. Mix in a handful of chopped fresh thyme or rosemary (or both! You can use dried thyme or rosemary, too). Lay your veggies on parchment paper on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender with a nice amount of brown.
By Chef Rossi
Photographed by Emily Hawkes
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
More from BUST