Perhaps I should be a mediator. The world needs more mediators or at least more people capable of walking the middle ground.
Sometimes walking the middle can produce an optimal solution for all. At least that was the case yesterday when we had a reunion of my youngest son’s lower school class and I was charged with bringing a potluck dish. My husband had also charged me with getting rid of all the “bloody turnips”. Yes, we have many. They waft in the fridge. No one rallies around them as a favorite vegetable. They are humble roots lacking praise. I teeter on the balance beam between making something delicious and cooking with turnips.
As I rummage through the recipe universe, I find deeply rich cream laden casseroles. There are dishes designed to disguise with chicken broth and bacon and others with such bare ingredients that I’m certain that the flavor and scent of the purplish gems would show through too starkly. With multiple windows open I begin to negotiate my path taking what I believe is good and necessary from each. Yes, I am walking the middle of recipe mediation.
Eliminate the chicken broth and bacon suggestions for the non-meat eaters. Lighten up the cream to 1% milk and spice it up with a mixture of peppers and herbs. Add some extra garlic and get rid of the last shallot in the root bin. The result?
Gone. Instantly. AND, it will work well with a variety of other vegetables just in time for Thanksgiving.
- 8 whole turnips, peeled
- 2 red potatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- generous grind of black pepper (24 turns)
- several sprigs thyme, leaves stripped from stems
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1.5 cups white cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 cup parmesan, grated
- 4 Tbs butter
Preheat the oven to 375º. Slice peeled turnips and potatoes thin using a mandolin, if available. Pour milk into a sauce pan with the minced garlic, shallot, black pepper, thyme and cayenne. Heat over medium heat for several minutes stirring occasionally.
In a large cast-iron skillet, melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Place a single layer of turnips on top of the butter overlapping the edges slightly. Next, ladle some of the hot milk mixture over the top of the turnips. Sprinkle some cheese over the top and repeat. It is also taste worth to add additional butter during this process. Continue building the layers until all of the turnip and potato slices have been used. Pour the remainder of the milk mixture over the top and then top with the grated cheese.