Turnips are one of a group of forgotten winter vegetables, along with swedes and parsnips. Some would add cauliflower and cabbage to the list. We adore turnips, cooked or raw, on their own or in salads.
This recipe from Plenty More by Ottolenghi, blanches the turnips and then mixes them with a heady paste of chilli and spices. It is Oh So Good.
It’s a heady condiment, a bit like a pickle, which keeps in the fridge for a few days. It’s great added to sandwiches, wraps and salads, or served with a curry, with a herby rice, or with roti and chutney.
Turnip with Spices
this makes a fair amount, you might like to halve the dish
5-6 small turnips, stalks removed but unpeeled
90g preserved lemon, halved, flesh and skin thinly sliced, seeds removed
15g coriander leaves, chopped
20g dried ancho chilli or other mild dried chilli, stalk removed and deseeded
0.5 tspn dried aleppo chilli flakes (or, if using very hot chilli flakes, just a pinch)
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
0.5 tspn ground cumin
pinch or two ground cardamom
1 tspn caraway seeds, toasted
1.5 Tblspn olive oil
1.5 Tblspn sunflower oil
1.5 tspn caster sugar
3 Tblspn cider vinegar
2 Tblspn lemon juice
Put the ancho chilli in a small bowl and add enough boiling water just to cover. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, until soft, then squeeze out some of the moisture from the chilli. Set aside two tablespoons of the soaking water and discard the rest.
Put the ancho chilli in the small bowl of a food processor, along with all the remaining ingredients up to and including the salt – use about 1 tspn. Add the reserved chilli water, blitz to a rough paste, then transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
Bring a medium pan of water to a boil, add the turnips and blanch for three minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water, pat dry and cut into 1cm-wide wedges. Stir these into the chilli paste, along with the preserved lemon. Cover and leave to marinate for at least an hour. Sprinkle with coriander and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
If, like our household, you keep several chilli pastes/jams in your fridge or pantry, you can shortcut the soak-and-grind process. Use your chilli paste or jam and add the other ingredients (grinding the caraway seeds before adding). Proceed with cooking and marinating the turnips.