Turnips with Miso Butter

Of all the things in my CSA, the turnips have been the most challenging. The first week we pan seared them and tossed them with pasta and butter and lemon. Week 2, I braised them. Week 3, I pickled them. Week 4, I was a bit sick of them, so I saved them until week 5 and then, damnit, had twice as many turnips to deal with. I hate wasting food, so despite the fact that I was turniped out, I hit up my old pal epicurious and came out with this gem-turnips with miso butter. I figured some of you with CSAs could probably use it.

Ok, so first off, did you know miso SMELLS like that?! I love miso soup, but I’ve never made it and I’ve never dealt with miso paste before. When I opened the tub, oh my, the smell was divine. So sweet and slightly citrusy. I just never knew! I wanted to eat it with a spoon and would have if it wasn’t prohibitively salty. Regardless, it was something of a revelation for me. Winning.

This dish is very simple, only requiring a few ingredients and very little work. The turnips are braised in water and a little mirin, then tossed with a  mixture of miso and softened butter, which becomes an amazing, flavorful sauce. The strange, sweet, almost floral flavor of the miso plays off the earthy, cabbagey turnips. Honestly, this is one of the best root veg dishes I’ve had in a while, and not just because it’s summer and there aren’t many root veggies around.

I could easily eat these, and just these, for dinner but then I’m a whole-head-of-cauliflower-for-breakfast kind of girl (re, clearly deranged). But honestly, I think you could do a million things with them. The sauce is so silky, you could easily toss them with pasta. They’d be gorgeous with shrimp, or scallops, or any other sweet seafood. Or you can do what I did and eat them with steak. If I get more turnips in my CSA in coming weeks, they’ll likely be meeting this fate. Even if I don’t, I think I’ve found a new way to make any veggies more delicious. Green beans and carrots, I’m looking at you.

Turnips with Miso Butter

Adapted from Gourmet. Serves 4.

3 T white miso
3 T unsalted butter, softened, divided
3 lbs small (1 1/2-to 2-inch) Japanese turnips (mine weren’t so small so I just hacked ’em up) with greens
1 1/3 c water
2 T mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

  • Halve turnips (unless very small) and chop greens
  • Stir together the miso and 2 T butter in a small bowl
  • In a 12″ skillet, bring the turnips, water, mirin, 1 T butter and a pinch of salt to a boil. Boil, covered, for 10 minutes
  • Add the greens. If there isn’t enough room initially, add a handful of greens and let them wilt down a bit before adding more. Cover and cook 1 minute
  • Uncover and continue boiling until the liquid reduces to a glaze (~5 min)
  • Add the miso butter to skillet and cook ~1 min
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