Creamed Sweet Turnips

Our recipe this week is for a large whitish botanically-enigmatic knob in the turnip family. The Macomber turnip. also known as the Westport turnip, was introduced to Westport by the Macomber brothers in 1876. It’s crisp as a radish, sweet as rutabaga, white as a turnip, and winsomely smooth and mellow when cooked. Turnips suspiciously like these are also called Cape turnips. And before Eastham became famous for its turnips, Falmouth was known as the turnip capitol of the Cape (which is why our market bags pay homage to the root.) Whatever you call them, they’re worth seeking out — look for them at the Windfall now that our 2011 market season is well and truly ending.

Creamed Sweet Turnips

3 lbs Macomber turnips, peeled and cubed
1 Tbs. finely minced onion
3-4 Tbs butter
¼ – ½ cup cream
salt and pepper
grated nutmeg and cinnamon
drizzle of maple syrup
finely chopped parsley

Cut peeled turnip into half-inch cubes. Put in a pan with enough salted water to float them. Bring to the boil, then simmer, partially covered, until perfectly tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile soften the onion in 1 ½  tablespoons of butter without letting it color. Stir in turnip. Mash as smooth as you can, then mash in ¼ cup cream, season to taste with salt, pepper, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and whisk in another 1 ½ tablespoons or so butter.

You can stop right there, but for an even airier purée, don an apron and switch to a stick-blender (immersion blender). Heads-up: to avoid splattering, do not stir blender around in the purée, use an up-and-down motion instead. Plunge blender into one spot and pulse. Stop pulsing, lift out blender, plunge it into another spot and pulse again. Work around the pot until purée is super smooth. Then whisk in extra cream and butter to your liking and adjust seasoning.

Serve creamed turnips in an ovenproof dish, finishing with a fine drizzle of maple syrup and chopped parsley. (Without finishing touches, the dish can be made ahead and re-heated in the microwave.)

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