Brassicas. Both of our quintessentially winter vegetables – turnip and swede (aka swede turnip and rutabaga) – belong to the brassica family. But they have quite different attitudes. The turnip is sophisticated, while the swede is common and a bit bogan. Turnips are white with purple tops, crisp and slightly bitter. They are perfect eaten raw in salads or as snacks, and are delightful if cooked but still retain some crunch. The flavour mellows on cooking. The swede is pretty unusual in that it’s yellow – more so than its sister vegetable, turnip, and some will say that they are sweeter. But mostly they are described as being strongly flavoured. They can also be eaten raw in salads, or, more commonly, are cooked.
Today, a simple dish with turnips. They are braised quickly in butter and rosemary before being salted and served. A gentle, understated flavour, and delicious.
Butter Braised Turnips with Rosemary
Peel 500 g of turnips and cut into cubes. Blanch them for 2 minutes and drain well.
Heat 75g butter over a gentle heat, add the turnips and the needles from a sprig or two of rosemary. A bay leaf can be added too. Cook gently for 5 minutes until the turnips are cooked but retain a little bite.
Sprinkle with salt and white pepper and serve with the buttery juices.
recipe notes and alternatives
Braise the turnips without the herbs, and sprinkle the finished dish with chopped chives.
Spinach, chopped or shredded, still damp from being washed, can be added to the turnips in the last 4 – 5 minutes. This will be enough time for them to wilt and cook.