If you think the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriot fans had their differences, let me tell you about the great turnip debate. This hard lined issue has been plaguing kitchens forever from the rustic homes of West Virginia to the traditional Southern stockpots of Florida- to cook or not to cook, that is the real question.
Sure, Shakespeare may have known what to do with the purple and white root vegetable we all know and love, but even today, many insist that the true flavor of a turnip can only be enjoyed when plucked straight from the soil- raw and fresh, even though most southern folk know that a plateful of chopped turnips and greens with that dash of southern flavor- aka pork fat is the only way to go. Knowing that now is the season to enjoy this fine vegetable, and not one to take sides in a kitchen divided, I offer you the best of both worlds- enjoy a turnip, raw and fresh, straight from nature in a turnip and spinach salad, or delight in a cooked turnip and dumpling favorite to warm those winter bones. Try one or both: and then make your own decision on the great turnip debate.
Spinach & Turnip Salad
1 turnip, julienned 1 bag spinach (8 oz) 1 teaspoon seasame seeds 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 tsp soy sauce Mix the turnips, spinach and seasame seeds in a bowl. In a seperate bowl, stir together the olive oil, vinegar and soy sauce well then fold into the salad.
Turnip Greens with Jalapano Corn Dumplings
2 bunches and 3 roots(diced) with tops washed clean, cut and washed again ½ pound smoked pork neck bones 2 tablespoons bacon grease Pinch sugar 2 cups water Salt and pepper to taste Boil smoked neck bones for about thirty minutes and bacon fat in enough water to cover. Add greens and diced turnips and cook for thirty minutes with a lid is better. Add Jalapeno corn dumplings (see below). It will seem like a lot of greens but they will cook down and you do not want them too soupy (approximately 30 minutes). Add a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper to taste. For dumplings: 1 cup stone ground cornmeal ¼ cup water 1 fresh jalapeno, deseeded and finely diced Mix cornmeal with water in a bowl. Add the jalapeno and mix until the consistency of thick paste. Spoon out little shapes of footballs on to the greens, while the greens are still boiling. Cover pot and cook for 30 minutes. Helpful Hint: Everyone always wondered why mama’s greens were the best tasting greens in the county. She would add a pinch or two of sugar to the water to sweeten them.