Spring is just about here in Norcal (we hope), and we are very excited to say goodbye to winter. It is almost time to get back in the garden and orchard, clean up the grill and smoker and spend some more time outside. And baseball opening day is just weeks away, sigh… But we aren’t quite there yet, so we are still eating winter veggies and making the most of our citrus. And this turnip salad recipe, while having a very light spring flavor, is very much a winter-ingredient dish.
And before you say “yuck, turnips”, we want to suggest you keep an open mind about the Tokyo or Hakurei turnip. These turnips are smaller, lighter, thinner skinned and crisper than your average turnip, in fact Tokyo turnips are very good in raw preparations and salads. And you don’t have to take our word for it, our boys and a friend tried, and loved, these turnips. If you can get kids to eat turnips you know you are onto something good. Tokyo turnips are a trendy ingredient these days, but are still uncommon in many supermarkets, you may have to go to a farmers market or Asian produce market to find them, but it is worth the effort.
While we are big fans of Tokyo turnips, they are a winter vegetable and do need a bit of extra work to really shine. And if we can make one generalization about winter vegetables is that they can be as good, and sometimes better, than spring or summer veggies, but usually there are a few extra steps to bring out the best flavors and textures. And this recipe is no exception. We adapted the recipe from Kevin Gillespie, Chef at Atlanta’s Woodfire Grill and Top Chef contestant. He recently wrote a cookbook “Fire In My Belly” and we have been working our way through the book (so far, so good). While many of the recipes are southern-influenced, Gillespie is a big advocate for local, organic food and this recipe comes more from that part of the book.