The first turnips of the spring have arrived, courtesy of a local CSA. We have learned to love the strong umami of white hakurei turnip prepared with cream and seasonings. In many recently issued cookbooks there is a complete dearth of recipes for turnip, but if you turn to the older books, notably the 1961 New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne, or the stellar 1979 From Market to Kitchen Cookbook by Perla Meyers, you will find many recipes for this neglected vegetable. The well-cooked turnip will take you on a time-travel journey back to the days when real vegetables, packed with flavor, made people grateful for every meal.
An excellent recipe for a gratin of white turnip appeared in Gourmet magazine 2007 but that recipe called for a whole cup of heavy cream and a matching cup of grated parmesan. It was hard on the arteries and on the wallet, and required both top of the stove and oven baking. So, Gf-Zing! has modified it slightly for recession and health reasons. Serve the turnips with a small steak, and a salad. You will want to obtain more fresh spring turnips, once you try them this way.
Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a non-stick 12 inch skillet (make sure you have a top to fit the pan.)
Wash one bunch of white hakurei turnips well, top and tail them, and slice them in 1/4 inch slices. Save the turnip greens for another recipe. You don’t need to peel the turnips. Layer the slices in the pan. Sprinkle the sliced turnips with 1 teaspoon dry thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, and 1/8- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, then pour 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup gluten-free chicken stock over the top. Cover and cook the turnips over medium heat for 20 minutes. The turnips will be completely cooked through, but there will be considerable liquid left in the pan. Remove the cover and cook to reduce the liquid. When most of the liquid has reduced (about 5-10 minutes), and the sauce is thickened, grate finely 1/2 cup of fresh parmesan cheese evenly over the top. Watch closely as the cheese melts and make sure that the liquid does not entirely cook away. Recipe credit: www.gfzing.com
Serve the turnips hot. The recipe is supposed to serve 6, but maybe realistically it would only serve 4, once they discover that they love turnips!
If you should happen to have a cup or so of the finished dish left over, by all means add it to a lentil dish like Mujaddara.
Make sure all your ingredients, including the spices, are gluten-free.