At Co-opportunity I wear many hats. In addition to managing the Cheese, Wine and Specialty department I also write for the store’s blog and conduct product trainings for new staff, which I have been doing lately. Part of that training involves ensuring that everyone knows what’s what in the produce department. Since it is the middle of winter (even in Southern California) we have an abundance of root vegetables. Talking about turnips inspired this salad.
Too often turnips get short shrift when foodies are making roots. Roasted root vegetable plates usually include celery root, beets, and parsnips, but too often the lowly purple topped turnip does not get an invitation to the party. When I was living in the Midwest, too many people associated turnips with austerity and old fashioned food without flavor, all of which probably had a nugget of truth to it. Since turnips are a vegetable that will keep well in a root cellar and are full of great nutrition including vitamins C and B6, potassium, folate and copper, they were grown extensively in kitchen gardens. I’m sure older folks who grew up eating them throughout the winter probably were tired of them come spring!
Shredding raw turnips in this crisp, fresh salad dispels any of those shadowy perceptions from yesteryear. If there had been cilantro in the frig I would have tossed that in as well. This creates a bright and refreshing salad, a change of pace from green salads and a great way to eat winter roots!
Strangely enough turnips are part of the cruciferous family which fights the formation of cancer cells (relatives include broccoli, brussels sprouts, collard greens, cabbage). Turnips greens are also edible, having a slightly bitter taste similar to mustard greens or collards. Cooking them with a bit of onion, garlic or cured pork (bacon, pancetta) is a great way to serve them.
Raw Turnip and Dill Salad
1/2 lb purple topped turnip, peeled and shredded
2 green scallions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
few grinds pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine all vegetables in bowl and mix well. Add juice, oil, salt and pepper and adjust for taste. Serve.