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How to turn the humble turnip into something glorious this winter

Turnip Colcannon; see recipe, below. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

This week and next, I’m sharing recipes that use my favorite five winter ingredients. Yesterday, it was celery root, one of the most distinctive vegetables in this season’s pantry. Later this week and next, I’ll write about mustard greens, citrus and chuck roast. Today, I’m focusing on another reliable root worth keeping in your repertoire: the turnip.

With a sweet but also sometimes bitter flavor, these roots too often turn up (sorry) noses because their flavor is usually boiled away and not embraced. To celebrate it, try skipping cooking altogether and just quick-pickling pieces in a caraway-heavy mixture. These pickles are such a bright and crunchy delight and offer a nice counterpoint to something rich like corned beef and cabbage, or any braised meat. Also try serving them in (or next to) your favorite sandwich. They’re equally at home with pastrami as with falafel. To turn the pickles a beautiful shade of pink, add a few pieces of raw beet to the pickling liquid.

If you can find turnips with their greens attached, your options just got more interesting. (Goran Kosanovic/For The Washington Post)

Turnips come in many shapes and sizes. The small Japanese ones are particularly delicate and are especially lovely when steamed and then tossed with a mixture of miso paste and butter. Serve with broiled fish and some rice.

And if you’re fortunate enough to find fresh turnips at your farmers market or grocery store with their sturdy greens still attached, know you’re lucky. Turnip greens can be prepared like collards, kale or any other cooking green. I say keep them with their roots and make a turnip version of the Irish dish known as colcannon (which folds cabbage into potatoes) and mash the turnips with their greens. A little butter and cream go a long way.

Turshen is a writer, recipe developer and author of the best-selling “Small Victories” and the more recent “Feed the Resistance” (Chronicle Books, 2017). She and her family live in Upstate New York. She will join our online chat with readers on Wednesday at noon: live.washingtonpost.com.

News credit : Washingtonpost

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