Turnips have their share of haters, but if I was ranking root vegetables they’d land near the top. I like their texture, dense yet juicy, and faint bitter savor. People say you should buy turnips small, snow white, and young, but the ones I picked up at the store were verging on middle aged, the size of softballs, tops stained with purple—and they were still perfectly fine, absolutely edible (though maybe I’m just seeing them as a metaphor for an upcoming big birthday—eek!).
You know what makes turnips really, really delicious? A blizzard of Parmagiano-Reggiano. Peel your turnips and slice them into sturdy strips, then shower them with cheese and spices. If you step lively, you can toss this together while your toddler is occupied with a cup of Cheerios. A blast of the oven will melt the root’s rock hard flesh tender while toasting the cheese golden brown and heat-blistered. I could have eaten the entire pan straight out of the oven, but managed to restrain myself and saved (most of) the “fries” for a quick, late-night, post-wine-class supper, paired with a mushroom-cheddar Boca burger. Later, I realized I misread the original recipe and used four times more cheese than actually called for—but, hey, that’s four times more delicious, right?
Parmesan turnip fries
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Note: The original recipe calls for 1/2 ounce of Parmesan cheese, so reduce as you prefer.
2 lbs turnips, peeled and cut into sturdy wedges
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 oz Parmagiano-Reggiano, grated
Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the turnips, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and olive oil. Toss to combine and season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and toss gently to combine. Arrange the turnips on the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 12 minutes and flip the turnips. At this point, the melted cheese will appear oily and stringy. Continue roasting another 12-15 minutes, until the oil absorbs and the turnips turn golden brown.