Once a week, I cook for a couple in Bellingham, WA. For the past few weeks I happened to be there on a Saturday and attended the Bellingham Farmer’s Market. Last week, I found some baby turnips with the most beautiful greens still attached. They were in such great condition that I complimented the farmer and went back this week for more. They are perfect for one of my all time favorite vegetable dishes, Roots and Tops.
Any root vegetable and their tops can be used in this recipe, even carrots for the more adventurous. I also use red radishes and daikon radishes regularly as long as the greens are in good shape. If you are using turnips or radishes, try to find bunches with roots that are smaller and fairly uniform in size. Most of them will be left whole. For daikon radishes or larger carrots, I just cut them in medium size pieces. I don’t know what it is about this dish. Sometimes simplicity just makes vegetables shine.
Roots and Tops
1-2 bunches root vegetables such as turnips, radishes or carrots and their greens, washed
1. Use a pot that will be a good size for fitting the roots and greens. Ideally, the roots will fit in one layer on the bottom of the pan. It is best to leave the roots whole, but cut some in half if you need to for uniformity in cooking time. Put water in the pot to about 1/2 inch up the side. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and place a lid on top. Let simmer until the roots just start to get tender. This can take between 4-10 minutes depending on the size of the roots. Keep an eye on the water level.
2. While the roots are cooking, chop the greens into bite size pieces. I use the stems, too. If they seem tough, you can cut them into thin circles and add them either at the beginning or with the rest of the greens.
3. When the roots are slightly tender, add the greens on top and sprinkle with shoyu. The amount of shoyu will depend on the amounts of vegetables, but I usually use about 1 tsp. Put the lid back on and continue to simmer until the greens are tender. Keep a close eye on them. Sometimes it only takes a few minutes.