Cornucopia, Ch 6
I love the season’s first CSA box. It’s generously filled yet not so full that we can’t consume most of the contents within the first three days. There’s a real sense of accomplishment in eating a box of garden produce, mostly greens, in short order. Like drinking a Big Gulp but, you know, healthier, tastier and better for you.
I was pleased to find a bunch of new white turnips, greens still attached. My European forbearers regularly ate turnips—spring and fall varieties— because the potato didn’t enter their Old World diets until the New World was encountered. The potato, in a sense, is the new turnip. Last week, they paired nicely with the salmon thawing in my refrigerator.
The salmon was whole, scaled and dressed. I particularly enjoy grilling whole fish. It requires minimal preparation –oil rub; salt and pepper seasoning in the cavity- and looks gorgeous on the platter. Apart from pulling the fish from the deep freeze three days before grilling, the meal came together quickly and easily.
New turnips are not mature fall turnips. Spring turnips fall, taste and texture-wise, into the radish/kohlrabi category. After cleaning, you don’t actually have to do anything to spring turnips, just slice thinly or grate them, season and consume. Grated, they make an excellent base for a frittata which, if I have more spring turnips next week, is my plan.
I trimmed the turnip tops, cleaning them in three changes of cold water before roughly chopping them. I sliced the spring turnip bulbs. I also sliced a cup of CSA box garlic scapes into half-inch pieces.
With the salmon on the grill, I warmed a little olive oil and sautéed the garlic scapes for several minutes, then added the turnip slices. After seven or eight minutes, turning occasionally, I added the turnip greens, generously seasoned it, tossed everything together and covered the pan for two minutes. I angled to cook the greens just past a wilt.
While the turnips cooked, I brought the salmon back into the kitchen and used white rice as the meal’s starch. It’s hard to say if grilled salmon or sautéed spring turnips was the bigger hit. Try them and decide for yourself.