I’ve had to call in a few favors to get my hands on some local produce around here. Like Eastham turnips, courtesy of my in-laws.
Never had Eastham turnip? Oh, you’re missing so much. They’re sweeter than the average turnip, which some say owes to the salty air and the particular sandy Cape Cod soil in which they’re grown. Turnip terroir, if you will. Others say it’s because the turnip is actually a cross between a rutabaga and a white turnip. Whatever the reason, it’s my favorite turnip, just edging out those little white Japanese salad turnips for the best spot in the crisper drawer of my heart.
This past Thanksgiving, I got tons of hits from people looking for Eastham turnip recipes. Tons. All I had up was an early post about how to boil and mash turnips with butter and nutmeg. It truly is the best way to eat them, but I suspect people were looking for something a bit more interesting than that. So next year, I’m cashing in with this recipe for roasted Eastham turnip with shallots and apples. The idea is to brown things well in order to coax out the natural sweetness. If all goes well, the shallots will end up soft and caramelized (except for the sought- after blackened bits), turnips will have turned pleasingly mellow, apples gnarled and twisty, all of it finished with a generous dusting of thyme.
If you like turnips, you’ll like this dish. And if you don’t like turnips, I’m willing to bet pocket change you’d like Eastham turnips. And if you’re going to sit there and insist that you don’t like turnips, it doesn’t matter what kind, no way, no how, and you never will…well, I can’t help you. You’re stubborn and you’ll never change.
Roasted Eastham Turnip, Shallots, and Apples
Macomber is a good turnip, too, but I’m sure you could use whatever other crappy turnips you have lying around. (Just kidding, Turnips. I love you all.)
1 large white turnip, peeled and chopped into ¾-inch cubes
2-3 shallots, peeled, lobes separated, each lobe cut into 4 wedges
1 large tart apple (like Cortland, Granny Smith, or Macoun) (not McIntosh as they will saucify), peeled, sides cut off the core and sliced into ¼-inch half-moons
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or sage)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Dump all the ingredients onto a sheet pan and combine with your hands until everything is coated in oil. Don’t forget the salt and pepper. Roast 20-25 minutes, until vegetables start to take on some color. Flip them with a spatula and roast 20-25 minutes more, until the shallots are on their way toward burning but not quite there, yet. Serves 1, if you’re me. Serves more like 4 if you’re a normal person.