The idea behind Explorations is to feature a particular ingredient each time, exploring different flavour combinations and ways of cooking, as well as trying to use every single part of the produce. The inspiration of my recipes mostly come from external sources like books and online blogs, but would often incorporate personal twists. I am in no way trying to take credit for the recipes, but am instead using this as a way to document and catalog ones that I have tried and particularly enjoyed.
This week's star of the show is Turnips. It is not an ingredient that I have used often, if not at all, which makes it even more fitting as the first post of the series, since my intention of starting this blog is to share my own journey and experiences through tasting.
Turnip Green Gomae
When I first saw the bunch of turnips at the market, I was actually more excited about the luscious greens on top than the turnips itself, so the first dish features exactly that. It is a variation on the traditional Japanese dish Horenso Gomae (spinach salad with sesame dressing). And instead of white sesame seeds, this recipe (from Food52) uses black sesame seeds instead, which creates a striking visual contrast, in addition to a deeper, richer taste. In true East meets West style, I had it alongside with with some lemon poached trout mixed with samphire, crème fraîche and fresh horseradish, served on homemade sourdough rye, and topped with some crispy trout skin.
(Miso) Buttered Turnips, Fresh Horseradish + Turnip Tops
The second recipe is taken from Ed Smith's brilliant book On the Side, a book that puts side dishes under the spotlight. (Warning: This book is highly addictive, and often renders you wanting only to have just a whole lot of side dishes for your meal.) I had some miso butter on hand, so ended up making a booster version, which added some extra umami flavour to the dish. This side is the ideal partner to roast beef, not only because of the classic horseradish and beef combination, but also the lighter texture of the turnips acts as a good alternative to the humble spud. On this occasion, I actually paired it with some crushed rosemary new potatoes and Jerusalem artichoke.
The crunchy texture of the turnips and punchy horseradish also goes really well with squashes/pumpkins, which are especially flavoursome during Autumn. I simply roasted the squashes with some chilli flakes and rosemary, and the extra kick from the chilli worked really well with the punchy horseradish.