Sauteed Turnips and Radishes
Who knew that cooked radishes taste good? Saute them together with delicate young turnips for a fast and easy, and delicious, vegetable side!
I’m not really on a campaign to discover all the unusual things you can do with radishes… It’s just that, well – I have radishes. (And not all that much else, yet.)
Just as I learned a few years ago that you can indeed eat the greens, I recently learned that people do cook the red roots. Now this was not a life changing revelation – most of the time I’m perfectly happy to just eat them raw in a salad or relish plate. But it hovered at the edge of my attention. (Nudge, nudge – you should really try this, just to see… it gives you another option when none of the other root vegetables are available yet… radishes are the first vegetable you see most years…)
But I still might not have tried it if I had not bought a bunch of Japanese turnips. When I put them away, I noticed that the turnips (which are smaller and more delicate than other cultivars) were the same size as some monster radishes I had, and I thought it would be interesting to cook them together. I’d seen people roast radishes, but I planned to saute the turnips – and I didn’t really have quite enough for the two of us, so something to supplement them would be welcome – and…
It was incredibly fast and easy, and remarkably good. Everything I’d read assured me that cooking smoothed out the sharpness of the radishes and made them slightly sweet. That turned out to be true, with the surprising result that the turnips were a bit more peppery, and the radishes balanced them!
As I said, I had initially planned to saute the turnips, so I stayed with that. I used half as much radish, by weight, as I did turnip. (I weighed them so I could tell you with certainty what my ratio was. If I were just cooking for myself, I’d have eyeballed it… This is definitely a More Or Less sort of recipe.) Then, since the actual vegetables were all pretty much the same size, I just sliced them. If there were more variation, I’d cut the larger ones in half before slicing, to get some uniformity. (And of course I reserved the turnip greens for another meal – I’ve always known that they’re good!)
I decided to use butter in the pan, for flavor, instead of my more usual oil. Butter does some surprisingly good things with radishes, and it would help everything brown delicately. You can certainly use oil instead, if you prefer. Heat the pan first, then add your butter or oil, and swirl the pan to cover it.
Add the sliced vegetables, and toss them to distribute the butter. Then cook, stirring every minute or two, for five minutes. Check for tenderness – these were already fork tender at only five minutes! Older turnips might take a few minutes longer – if you need to, cover the pan, turn off the heat, and let them finish cooking in their own steam. These did not need that, though. I just served them as they were.
Now, you can certainly use the same recipe for just turnips, as I originally planned to. For that matter, you can just cook radishes. We really enjoyed the combination, though – the sweetness of the radish (who knew?) set off the peppery turnip beautifully. They’re so pretty, too! The radish does lose some color, but it’s still pink enough to accent the creamy turnips.
I would use this method for fresh, relatively young turnips – if you use the ones that have been sitting neglected in the bin at the grocer’s for the last six months, they just won’t be the same… put them in your stew (where these would turn to flavorless mush.)
What vegetable do you suppose I can find a new use for next?
Sauteed Turnips and Radishes
- 10 oz tender young turnips
- 5 oz radishes
- 2-3 t butter or oil, for pan
- Trim and wash turnips and radishes. Slice them. If you need to, cut some slices so that all pieces are roughly the same size.
- Heat butter or oil in a saute pan. Add the vegetables, stir to distribute the butter.
- Cook, stirring every minute or two, for five minutes. Check to see if done. If not yet, you can give them another minute or two, or turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it cook in its own steam.
- Serve at once.