This seems to be the week of no touch, no stir, nearly hands off cooking. Easter became a menu of simple, down home Italian dishes that I felt I just had to share even if they're off topic from my usual Indian fare.
How does someone get to be 91 years old without eating a turnip....ever? To what is that attributed? The fact that turnips have gotten bad press? That they are mainly the stuff that's thrown at witches in fairy tales and bad vaudeville acts? That being called a turnip head is not exactly compliment? Seeing as the turnip is a basic vegetable in many cuisines, including Italian, it seems nearly impossible. But that's what my father told me on his birthday. He had never, ever, ever eaten a turnip. This from a man who got an iPod for his 90th. How can one experience an Apple, and never a turnip?
Thanks to me, he had his first turnips last Sunday and the recipe came from my good friend Paula Wolferts' new cookbook Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes To Savor and Share.
The thing I love about this recipe (besides the fact that it's delicious and turnips are among my favorite vegetables) is the ease of preparation. This is especially helpful when prepping a company or holiday dinner with a lot of action on the stove. It's great when a vegetable just minds itself, as this one does.
This recipe calls for a simple clay pot that sits on top of the stove on a diffuser.
The ideal sort of turnip for this dish are tiny little turnips but since those were not to be found, I bought the smallest ones I could find and cut them down to size.
Peel two pounds of small turnips, or peel and cut down 2 pounds of regular size turnips
Place the turnips in a clay pot.
Mix them with
3 Tbs of melted unsalted butter
2 tsp of sugar
3/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
Add in 1/2 cup of water
Cover the turnips with a wadded up piece of parchment paper
Every now and then give the pot a shake, rolling around the turnips inside. Don't lift the lid while they're cooking.
When they're done and you do lift it, you will be rewarded.