Turnips grow very well and quickly in our garden. They reach maturity in 30 days from the initial sowing. After 14 days or so they need to be thinned. I began transplanting the the thinned babies into a different row as an experiment. I placed them 2 inches apart and gave them spirulina tea so the roots would be less susceptible to shock. The tops appeared to be dying for the first 2 days but on the third day the crowns appeared bright and green pushing through the soil. In 2-3 weeks the transplants had flourished and produced an additional bed of beautiful healthy turnips.
Turnips are surprisingly versatile adding a few different qualities to a meal. Sometimes I julienne them and throw them in salads raw. This adds a little texture, flavor and mild heat. I also pickle them in vinegar with ginger, garlic and Hawaiian chile. Similar to the pickled daikon recipe I posted earlier. This is my favorite use for these. They are hot, tangy, a little sweet, and super zesty. I love them on salads, in wraps or as a condiment on fish, lamb or chicken.
With 40-50 turnips after our final harvest I knew soup would be the best route. I pickled some and still had quite an abundance remaining. The soup was quite simple and wonderfully thick and creamy.
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3 Green Onion chopped
10 Turnips cubed
4 cloves garlic minced
4-6 cups stock
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Saute green onion in la large stock pot until soft. Add turnips and saute another 7 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and cook another few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add stock, enough to just cover the turnips. Simmer on low for 30 minutes. When turnips are cooked all the way through, transfer soup to a vitamix or blender and blend until creamy. Transfer blended soup back to stockpot and continue process until all ingredients are blended smooth and creamy.
I didn’t have any stock so I added 2 cups of fennel and eggplant tapenade I had made previously to the turnips, along with 2 or so cups of water. This worked beautifully. The tapenade added body and flavor. This is my favorite way of preparing food. Improvising and experimenting. If you don’t have green onions it’s perfectly fine to use white, red or yellow. If you have leftover roasted vegetables, throw them in the food processor and make a quick stock with them.
For a garnish, I grated a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese on slipmat and sprinkled fresh herbs on the cheese. I baked it for 10 minutes at 350 and let it cool 10 minutes. I then topped the soup with the cheese crisps. My favorite herb in the crisps that matched the soup well was marjoram. I made others with lemon basil and tarragon but the marjoram added another layer of flavor that was quite nice. Roasted nuts or sunflower or pumpkin seeds with a dash of pesto would be a nice garnish for this soup also.
If you live in an area where mushrooms are cultivated I would add mushrooms to this soup. They could be blended in with all ingredients or sauteed separately and added at the end for texture.