Turnip greens

Tom Hunt

The Guardian - Feast - - Feast - Waste not ...

De­pend­ing on what coun­try you live in, you may al­ready eat turnip greens. In Italy, say, they grow a species es­pe­cially for its greens, cime di rapa, which is clas­si­cally served wilted with an­chovies. They are sim­i­lar to col­lard greens, spinach or chard, and cooked in much the same way.

The turnip is one of my top five veg­eta­bles. The root is crisp, slightly pep­pery and com­plex, while the green tops and stems are nu­tri­tious, hearty and ver­sa­tile. Turnips are a hid­den gem that, treated with re­spect, can be­come the hero of any table: char­grilled and added to stews, grated raw into sal­ads or baked and served as part of the Sun­day roast.

They grow well in the British cli­mate most of the year, so should not be hard to find. Eat the leaves quickly, though, be­cause they per­ish much faster than the root, which will keep in the fridge for sev­eral months.

Wilted turnip tops with roast roots

Sep­a­rate the leaves and stems from a bunch of turnip roots. Cut the roots in half or into wedges, toss in good oil and roast in a 220C/425F/gas 7 oven for 10 min­utes. Cut the washed leaves and stems into 3cm-long pieces. Heat a driz­zle of oil in a fry­ing pan on a medium-high flame, add the greens, stems and a sliced clove of gar­lic, and cover with a lid. Once they start steam­ing, leave to cook for a minute, then take off the lid and cook, stir­ring, un­til the liquor re­duces. After a minute or two, when the leaves are just wilted, serve tossed with the roast roots, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pep­per. If you like, top with ri­cotta and orange zest, or even roast kumquats.

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