Sunday, March 14, 2010

Turnip Greens and Potato Salad

As I mentioned in my last post, this week's farmbox caused some delayed-onset inspiration. A while ago, C had attempted a soup from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen. At the time, we couldn't find any turnips with greens still attached, so he used parsley instead. The resulting soup was good, but we both felt that it wasn't as good as it could have been. This is not at all to disparage C's excellent kitchen skills, but it is to lament the fickleness of available produce. When we got a lovely bunch of young turnips with greens, then, I finally got around to thinking about that soup again and contemplating making another run at it. We haven't actually had all that much luck with this book, though I continue to return to it. I was beginning to worry that I mostly love the look of the thing, though it bears noting that Terry's method for baking tofu has become gospel around here.

We also had a bunch of parsley hanging around. While it's not romantic to say so, we always struggle to use up fresh herbs once we have them. Isn't that unfortunate? I know that as a food snob, especially a California-dwelling food snob, I should be mincing out to the garden to clip fresh herbs. I should have little bunches of them drying here and there. I should be extolling the wonders of fresh herbs and uttering proclamations about how no dried herb can possibly compete and so on and so forth. Though it may be a sign of amateur cooking status, I just don't really care. Mostly, I don't like to waste food or money, and if I know (and believe, me, I know) that I don't have a prayer at using up more than a sprig of rosemary for the recipe I'm working on, I'll just use dried. If that's wrong, I'm not sure I want to be right. Anyway, that's a long way of telling you about the plan I devised to use up the parsley before it wound up, like the bunch before it, in the compost heap. Continuing to thumb through Terry's book, I found a recipe for a red potato salad with a parsley-based pesto. All of the ingredients were not expensive and easy to get, so I had our menu plan. I made the Roasted Turnips and Shallots with Turnip Greens Soup and Roasted Red Potato Salad with Parsley-Pine Nut Pesto. I asked C to kick in a salad of some sort. 

 For the soup, which I couldn't find posted anywhere on the internet, you slow roast turnips and shallots with some salt and olive oil. Then you toss them in with the sauteed turnip greens. You add broth and seasonings and simmer the whole lot. I had to halve the recipe because I only had one bunch of turnips, and this made just the right amount for the two of us.

The potato salad was also really good, though I had to make some substitutions. I found the recipe posted here, and it is as follows:

Roasted Red Potato Salad with Parsley-Pine Nut Pesto
For the pesto
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cups loosely packed, flat-leaf parsley
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp mellow white or yellow miso
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
For the salad
2 lbs small red potatoes, cut into 1" chunks
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1" pieces
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black peppers
  1. Place pine nuts in a small skillet and toast over low heat until golden brown, taking care that they don't burn.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the pine nuts, parsley, garlic, miso, and lemon juice and puree. Slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth Add 1/2 tsp salt and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and the olive oil. Toss to coat. Transfer the potatoes to a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Add the peppers to the baking sheet and stir to combine. Roast for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the peppers are roasted.
  4. Transfer the potatoes and peppers to a large bowl, add 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp pesto, stir well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature. Cover the remaining pesto with a film of olive oil in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
 I used curly parsley because that's what I had. I also subbed raw pistachios for the pine nuts because pine nuts are expensive and, really, what's the big deal? I toasted them just as the recipe directs and did everything else as suggested. Sorry about the pics, dear readers. I know you've come to expect a certain level of crappiness from my photos, and this post doesn't even really meet those low expectations. Even C's effort to show me how it's done yielded a blurry photo. Let me leave you with the promise that I will strive to do better in the future. Also, the brownies are coming. 


b3carmain said...

I totally think that turnips would be one of the not-so-great-gets in a CSA box. Turnips, parsnips, and their friends (which I can't believe people grow ON PURPOSE) give vegetables a bad wrap! In fact, I don't think I have ever read of people in a book eating a turnip that were happy about it.... Just something to consider! Why not tasty artichoke soup?? :)
BTW, unrelated to food, but mentioned in your previous blog, I LOVED the image of C grumping behind his computer! Amazing imagery.
As always, I LOVE reading this blog!!! Even more than I love reading spicy vampire novels, and thats A TON!

Marla said...

While I'm mostly with you on parsnips, turnips are really good, especially good this way. The roasting brings out the sweetness of the vegetables. Parsnips are a much tougher customer. Also, artichoke soup sounds really tasty.

Thank you so much for reading!

b3carmain said...


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