This time of year here in Tennessee it starts to warm up, the Daffodils pop up, the Forsythia bushes are ready to bloom, buds are on the trees and tornado season starts. It seems to have started earlier than usual this year. A week or so ago it was one of those late winter, sultry evenings that make me want to sit out on the porch and pretend its Spring. But it was a night of severe tornado warnings, high winds, brutal rains…a night to stay inside. Wouter was away which made it more eerie to be in the house with the lights flickering, the winds beating against the house & not much to eat in the pantry.
A few days before this evening I purchased these exotic California Black Turnips along with some Black Snow Peas. I had not really thought about what to do with them cuisine-wise, just that I thought they were very beautiful & wanted to photograph them. But there was no way I was going to venture out to a restaurant or market to procure dinner so I studied them for a while and this is what I came up with.
“Black Turnip-Apple Mash-up with Snow Peas & Asparagus”
For this you will need: 6 turnips (Black or regular type); 1 crispy apple (Braeburn or Pink Lady are great); good butter, kosher salt & black pepper to taste and a good grating of Parmesan.
1. Peel Turnips (Black Turnips are a beautiful white inside), trim & rinse. Cut turnips into chunks and put in a pan of water over medium high heat. Peel, core & chop apple into chunks and add to turnips in pan. Add a bit of salt to the water. Cook until turnips are soft enough to mash like potatoes. Mash using a fork or potato masher, adding as much butter, salt & pepper to mixture as you like. Mash until fluffy like mashed potatoes. Set aside. The apple adds just enough natural sweetener to offset the bitter taste turnips can have. A good combination.
2. Next the Black Snow-Peas (I have searched the internet and cannot find any photographs of these beauties. If you read this & know anything about them I would love to hear it.) They are beautiful with mostly dark skins with hints of green. I just popped them into a ziploc bag with a bit of water and cooked them in the microwave until crispy soft and cooked.
2. The Asparagus spears I cooked the same way.
3. To serve I put some of the Black Turnip mash into a shallow bowl & topped with the steamed Asparagus spears & Black Snow Peas adding a bit of sea salt & freshly grated Parmesan. Surprisingly delicious the mash had a wonderful taste, the snow peas & asparagus were cooked al dente and were the perfect sides. With a glass of wine, I savored my “dry” dinner.
While preparing the Turnips for cooking my mind was wandering and I realized that if you turn a Black Turnip upside down it resembles a tornado funnel! As the Turnips cooked I did this sketch on my kitchen blackboard.
“eat your vegetables”