It’s turnip time: make the most of this cheap, seasonal veg

This hash replaces the usual potato with fresh, delicious turnips

Turnip hash with Parmesan and radish

Turnip hash with Parmesan and radish

 

It’s the perfect time of year to buy small, tennis-ball-sized turnips. I just had to pick these up when I saw them at the farmer’s market – they’re both cheap and seasonal. These little turnips are white, dipped in bright purple with green tops. The tops are edible, too.

They’re fresh and delicious raw, sliced thinly in salads with apple or added to stir-fries and cooked briefly. Small, fresh turnips are delicious roasted in wedges and drizzled with honey and thyme. They add real body to a vegetable soup. I’ve made a hash with them here, replacing the regular potato with these seasonal turnips. You could use half potatoes and half turnip in your hash.

Radish and turnip are both part of the cabbage family and have a similar flavour. I like to add some raw radish just before serving to re-endorse the turnips’ flavour and bring some freshness. Season this dish generously – the pepper further echoes the pepperiness of the turnip and the lemon is delicious with the nutty Parmesan. Crispy lardons would make a delicious addition for a delicious brunch.

I love edible flowers and use them any chance I can, so if the thyme is flowering I take a few of those or when the nasturtiums took off during the summer I added the bright petals to every salad I made. Even when rocket bolts it has lovely fragile yellow flowers that can be used as a tasty garnish. I scattered the finished dish with marigold petals and some chive flowers. The little purple pompoms have an unmistakable whiff of allium and really add to the flavour of the dish. They’re really lovely and one flower head goes a long way as you gently pull it apart and scatter the tiny lilac bells over a dish before serving.

The key to the perfect fried egg is to get an impeccably fresh egg. The proteins are stronger, meaning it holds its shape. Fresh eggs are a nightmare to peel so keep any older eggs for boiling. We’ve started to write the date on our own hen’s eggs for this very reason. Check the use-by dates on shop-bought eggs to find out how fresh they are.

TURNIP HASH WITH PARMESAN AND RADISH

Serves 4

Ingredients

800g turnips, about 6 tennis ball sized (not large Swedes)

8 spring onions, finely sliced, including green tops

100g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

4 eggs

8 radishes, finely sliced

Sea salt

Black pepper

½ lemon

Method 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Wash and peel the turnips. Cut them into bite-sized cubes. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to the boil. Add the turnip cubes and simmer for 60 seconds. Drain over the sink and shake dry. Place the turnip cubes on a tray and toss with two tablespoons of olive oil to coat. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the finely chopped spring onion, Parmesan and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir with a spoon so everything is mixed well and the turnip is coated. Roast for a final three to five minutes while you cook the eggs.

Place a frying pan over a medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil or butter. Gently slip the eggs into the pan one at a time. Reduce the heat to low. Leave the eggs to cook slowly until the whites are completely set. This dish is nicest when the yolks are still soft. Season with some salt.

Divide the turnip between four plates. Scatter with the thinly sliced raw radish and some finely sliced spring onion greens or chives. Top with an egg and serve immediately.

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