Oct. 5 - Vicki's Vegetable Ventures
New squash friend
Delicata squash — ever heard of it? I certainly hadn’t, so I followed the advice from the Chatfield newsletter about roasting not only delicata but all winter squashes. Cut in half, remove seeds and strings, put in a pan with some olive oil, then roast at 400° for about 45 minutes. Wow. It was the highlight from last week’s distribution.
Experimenting with turnips
As the growing season at Chatfield winds down, I’ve been reflecting on the CSA experience and deciding which items have proved most challenging. The kohlrabi springs to mind, as do the fennel sprigs and tomatillos. The first got roasted, the second and third safely stored in the freezer to revisit and reconsider later this winter.
The turnips were also trying. As a child I hated turnips, but my taste buds ought to have matured enough by now to enjoy them. So I tried this trying vegetable a few different ways. Earlier this summer I incorporated them into a cauliflower gratin. Everyone loved this dish, but who wouldn’t with all that cheese?
More recently I added turnips to braised meat dishes: first corned beef cabbage and then beer-braised brisket. Both these meals were also successful, but again, the turnips were seasoned with the juice of the braised meat and served with other vegetables. It wasn’t as though we chowed down on a turnip all by itself, evoking Scarlett O’Hara digging up a carrot and scarfing it down directly from the earth.
I also tried roasting this root vegetable, which does allow the full turnip flavor to emerge. However, I must confess that the essence of the turnip is not my favorite. But this week I finally hit upon a way to prepare turnips that’s really tasty.
What’s not to like?
I cut a rather large turnip into extremely thin slices — some were even shoestring’ed — and added salt and Hungarian paprika. Then I fried them. In peanut oil. On high heat. Till they got super crispy. I ate the whole plateful.
Which reminds me of a story my neighbor (who’s a private chef) tells about the time she was one of the cooks at a TV-show taping that featured Rachael Ray. The episode was shot at a restaurant here in Denver, where my neighbor and the other cooks prepared gnocchi.
On-camera, Rachael described the gnocchi as “pillows of heaven.” Off-camera, my neighbor thanked her for complimenting the gnocchi. Then came the reply, “Potatoes, salt and fat — what’s not to like?”
So I shall reprise that quip in regard to fried turnips. Turnips, salt and fat — what’s not to like?