When you hear the words, “Scarlet Queen” what sort of visual does your imagination summon? Do you think of a dark-haired vixen dressed in red satin or are you moved to an image of the 1970s rocker chick Stevie Nicks making her way across the stage in a long flowing red cape?
While there is likely a handful of both men and women who would love to take on the title, the name Scarlet Queen was made famous in the late 1940s when producer James Burton created the radio drama, Voyage of the Scarlet Queen. The episodes were ocean adventures that took place aboard a 78-foot sailing craft with two masts known as a ketch.
Those familiar with this program believe that it may have heavily influenced the production of Star Trek decades later. Every episode opened with the ship’s master, Philip Carney reading an entry from the ship’s log naming his vessel, himself and a detailed description of their locale and the weather. And each show closed in a similar manner: “Ship secured for the night. Signed, Philip Carney, master.”
While the quality of this radio production placed it ahead of it’s time, the dialogue used accurate sailing terminology and map coordinates so that those at home drinking scotch from their captain’s chairs could easily follow the ketch course around the South Pacific. The stops of the Scarlet Queen were delivered in steady paced stories with music directed by Walter Schumann and composed by Nathan Scott. The master and first mate made adventures going ashore to find trouble, scrappy fist fights and women. And much like our Captain Kirk, they would return to the ship’s wheel to reminisce about the problems they’d solved before the master closed his log.
How a variety of red salad turnips came to be known as Scarlet Queen, I do not know. But I do know that this simple salad is worthy of an adventure be it on the high seas or otherwise. The short time it takes to prepare will leave you plenty of time for exploration, romantic interests and if you choose, even a good fist fight.
Scarlet Queen Red Turnip Salad
Adapted from Dunk & Crumble
Serves 4 – 6
- 1 bunch Scarlet Queen Red turnips (about 5), sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds using a mandolin
- 1/2 medium cucumber, largely diced
- 2 scallions, light green and white parts only, sliced thinly into rounds
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- salt and pepper
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
In a medium salad bowl, combine the turnips, cucumber, scallion, and pistachios. Sprinkle feta cheese on top, as well as a big pinch each of salt and black pepper. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over salad, and toss gently to combine.
Serve immediately (if you prepare the salad in advance, withhold the feta, salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil until just before serving). Enjoy with an episode from the past:
Do you still listen to stories on the radio or on podcasts or in the car while you are driving?