Monday, 16 February 2009

Return of the turnips

It’s been a long, slow journey for the turnip from cattle fodder to gourmet ingredient. This versatile, good value vegetable is still nowhere near as popular as fellow roots squash, pumpkin and parsnips but chefs are on the look out for different varieties of small, young turnips of the sort cultivated in France.

These are usually globe shaped with a creamy complexion and a hint of purple. They have a sweet but mustardy flavour that intensifies with cooking. Mature turnips are available now as opposed to the baby ones of early summer.

Try cooking them whole like roast potatoes, pan-fried and served with duck or lamb, or caramelised in honey and butter. Alternatively use them as the main root ingredient in a dish of Gordon Brown’s thrifty favourite: rumbledethumps.

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