Turnip the Heat
Edible Alaska is on the move!
We kicked off our summer road trip with opening day at the Homer Farmers’ Market and enjoyed meeting lots of local food lovers. We signed up a bunch of new subscribers as well. A great start to our summer subscription drive.
Today we bring you the first edition of a new online column called One for the Road where we’ll look at the culinary world through a moving lens - ideas on camp cooking, roadside eateries, food-themed souvenirs, and travel topics - all around Alaska. One for the Road will also be a place where we share travel stories and tips from Alaska and beyond.
Speaking of tips, I learned an important market lesson on Saturday; don’t wait until 10 minutes before market close to do your shopping! The early bird gets the good greens. All day I had been dreaming about the soft spring salad I was going to make from a wonderful selection of fresh herbs and lettuces, but by the time I got around to shopping, all that produce was sold out. Great for the farmers, not great for our dinner plans.
Don’t worry, I managed to score two beautiful bunches of turnip greens and some fresh chives right at 3:00. In early spring, turnip greens are great raw. Like kale, you want to cut them quite finely for a salad. Let them marinate in a light vinaigrette for longer than you would let lettuce sit before serving, that will soften them a bit. Luckily, I also had an invite to satiate my hunger first with freshly shucked Jakolof Bay oysters at the Homer Brewery, and then with pizza at Fat Olives. The turnip greens were tucked away in the cooler to be enjoyed at a later date.
The next day, with my enthusiasm for grilling out dampened, I opted for comfort food. Young turnip greens don’t need much cooking, as they are so tender this time of year.
Northern Turnip Greens
Serves 2 to 3
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 bunches turnip greens, leaves and stems, rinsed and chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large saute pan then add garlic and chives. Cook for about a minute before adding turnip greens. You may have to add the greens in batches but they will cook down considerably.
Young turnip greens don’t need to cook long - just 5 minutes or so until they are ready to eat. Add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper then taste and adjust seasoning.
For creamed turnip greens, follow recipe but add 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream at the end. Let simmer in cream for a minute or two before serving.
Start with garlic, fresh ginger, and green onions and season with a dash of soy sauce for a different flavor profile.
Our friends down south are aghast at the lack of pork in the above greens recipe. If you fall into that camp, start by rendering some chopped bacon instead of the olive oil, then continue as directed.