Spring turnips and radishes are the flavors of right now.
It has been chilly this week, but we’ve had some breaks of sunshine in the spring rains. These blessed showers brought the green grass, and the trees are starting to leaf out as well. Perfect weather for the daffodils and tulips.
It does the heart good, to find locally grown roots and greens at our farm stands in early spring. The farmers coax those early spring turnips and radishes from the ground and offer them up proudly with all their glorious greens as well! After a long, cold New England winter, this is finally the colorful light at the end of a grey tunnel.
Tip of the root to top of the leaves, every inch edible
Snow-white turnips, Easter egg radishes, and all those fresh tops! Don’t toss them; both of these vegetables have delicious greens that will round out your meal, and add so many nutrients we crave in this early season. Sweet and tender when young, turnip greens are an amazing addition to the spring plate. Radishes too! They are not just for salads, raw or cooked they add a tasty element.
Enter, a fried from the south
I’ve added a little lift to this dish with some Meyer lemons, still in season although not grown here of course. If you can’t find them, any lemon will do, or even orange or grapefruit, or a bit of white wine vinegar in a pinch. The white wine adds its own little touch, and the honey mellows out any bitterness.
Use that braising liquid to finish the meal
This is quick to put together and cook, and I make it with either shrimp or fish that I poach in the same braising liquid once the vegetables are done. Double duty for the liquid, and even more flavor for the seafood.
It’s spring after all, we don’t have to simmer supper for hours!
Braised Spring Turnips and Radishes
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter or vegan butter
- 1 plump shallot, minced
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch spring turnips, greens and all, halved
- 1 bunch spring radishes, greens and all, halved
- 1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tbsp. native honey
- Zest from the lemons
- Chives and edible flowers to garnish
In a large skillet, melt butter and add olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic all at once, and sauté for about a minute and a half, then add the turnips and radishes.
Make this easy. First zest the lemons into a measuring cup (set aside a bit for garnish), then halve and squeeze the lemon juice into the cup. Add white wine to make 2/3 cup, then water to make a cup, add the honey and zest, whisk, and dump it all in. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Let cook 8 to 10 minutes, until a paring knife inserted into the turnips tells you they are tender. The radishes will be done too.
Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with garnishes.
Make it a full meal with fish or shrimp
A delightful light spring supper. If you are serving this with fish or shrimp, take advantage of the beautiful braising liquid. Remove the vegetables from the pan and cover to keep warm. Place the fish or shrimp in the pan, cover and cook gently until tender, just a couple of minutes if shrimp, a few more if a white fish.
Serve everything together with the liquid. Hearty appetites will want a little rice on the side.
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