sautéed Japanese turnip

by Heguiberto on March 30, 2012

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One of the many things I enjoy about Delfina is that they’re always serving different sautéed veggies as side dishes. These sides are invariably delicious and change with the capital-S Seasons. Often “vegetable side dishes” get a bad rap, but I never get bored ordering them there. On our last visit we savored whole leaf and root sautéed Japanese turnip. The presentation was beautiful: the roots remained attached to the wilted leaves. Like the best of foods, this was prepared simply with salt, garlic, and good olive oil using a technique that didn’t overcook the turnips, letting the leaves stay bright green and allowing the roots a bit of a crunch. Just perfect.

sautéed Japanese turnip

sautéed Japanese turnip

Turnip and all other roots from the radish family can be a little off putting for those who cannot appreciate bitter flavors. They all share that quality, some more intense than others. I find these Japanese turnips very mild in flavor, even sweet with just a slight bitter finishing taste. I almost feel I am describing the flavor of a wine here! That’s a happy thought.

I never thought of eating turnip leaves before. I saw a post from Taste of Beirut on radish leaf salad few months ago. Joumana inspired me so already I’ve tried the leaves on salads and made tabuli with them. All delicious! Next time you shop for daikon, radishes or turnip, don’t discard the leaves. They’re totally edible and tasty.

Obviously, Delfina’s my inspiration today.

sautéed Japanese turnip

1 bunch turnips (if too big like mine, split them in half, keeping leaves on both halves)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Few tbsp water

Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a pan on high. Add garlic, toss in turnips and sprinkle with salt. Shake the pan to coat turnips with oil and garlic. Add a couple tablespoons of water. Cover and cook until tender. Poke roots with a fork to test. They should be tender yet with a crunch. Add a bit more of water if needed and continuing cooking. Remove from heat, adjust salt, drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

OysterCulture March 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I love Taste of Beirut, she inspires me too. I just got back from some of the vegetable markets along Clement in SF and was staring longingly at all the wonderful greens, and now you have me inspired to try this dish – sounds delicious
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Devaki @ weavethousandflavors April 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I adore the greens but usually fix the asian ones – like choy sum, kailang, bok choy, mustard greens and of course good ole’ beet greens. This is a new one for me and I LOVE it! This is a great way to treat any leafy friend 🙂

chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
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Magic of Spice April 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

This looks fantastic! I rarely see these turnips and ever less often with the leaves. It never makes sense to me why they trim or remove edible greens. Lovely dish!
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