The turnip was the white root vegetable of choice throughout Europe. Then the potato arrived from the new world. Soon the turnip was just not very popular any more. Turnips are less full of nutrition than the potato. And they can have an ugly bitter flavor. They can be dry or pithy.
In all, the potential problems associated with turnips are large and the perceived assets tiny. But turnips do have a distinctive flavor that complements certain meats, especially beef and lamb. And used braises and fricassees it definitely pulls its weight (see below). Dim Sum restaurants frequently offer a steamed delight made from turnip, rice flour, shrimp, and sausage. Not all western palates warm to this delicacy because of its slightly glutinous texture and subtle flavor, but many find it delightful.
Turnips mix well with other root vegetables - especially parsnips, carrots and celeriac. They can be used in simple pureed vegetable melanges; they can be used in creamy root vegetable soups; or they can be roasted with meats.
Here are some strategies for treating turnips effectively in recipes.
Copyright S.R. Brubaker 2002 - 2006.