This past weekend, I had the pleasure of doing the Cooking Demo (Video live & uncut) at the Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge with Chef Celeste Gill. Since I was wearin’ green just a few days before for St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to keep the theme going at the Market. One of the items I decided to cook was Two Way Turnip Crostini, using the whole turnip from leave tip to root, for two reasons. One, when purchasing them at the weekday market, I was behind a young lady who was told by her doctor to start eating healthier, she was enticed by the beauty of the turnips, but admitted she had no idea how to cook them. Thus began my turnip tips, which when I tell people treat the turnip like you would a potato, I usually get a “really?” Yep, even in your favorite scalloped potato recipe! They really are as simple to cook as a potato. Two, for I wanted to show how delicious the turnip greens and turnips can be and not that bitter bite we probably remember from our childhood. The other item I decided to cook was Charred Green Onion Shrimp Pasta, remember Green Onion Shrimp? I wanted to highlight green onions as more than just a seasoning.
TWO WAY TURNIP CROSTINI:
1 bunch turnips with greens, rinsed well, twice
2 garlic cloves
½ TBSP milk, cream, or butter
Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 TBSP)
2-3 TBSP Olive Oil
¼ cup part skim ricotta or grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Salt and pepper
For the mashed turnips: Cut off the stems and leaves from the turnips. Set aside. Scrub the turnips under running water. Cube the turnips. Put turnips and 1 garlic clove into a pot and cover with water. Add salt and bring water to a boil. Boil for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Drain. Add turnips and milk, cream, or butter to a bowl. Mash the turnips and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
For the turnip green pesto: Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add leaves and stems (the greens) and cook for 1 minute. Remove greens to colander. Put drained greens into a food processor with 1 garlic clove, toasted walnuts, salt and pepper. Process 2 minutes. While processor running, add lemon juice and 2-3 TBSP olive oil (depending on desired consistency). Process until smooth. Add cheese. Pulse a few times. Remove.
To assemble, spread mashed turnips onto crostini and top with a dab of turnip green pesto.
**Can buy crostini or cut French baguette into thin slices, rub slices with olive oil. Bake on cookie sheet 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, turning once.
1 bunch green onions (if small, use 2 bunches), root cut off (save to grow)
1 garlic clove
1 ¼ TBSP olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 TBSP)
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ TBSP Italian seasoning
½ cup unsalted chicken broth or stock
1 lb medium, (31-40ct) peeled, deveined shrimp
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped or 1/2 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
12 oz desired pasta
Parmesan cheese, grated
Directions: Rub bunch of green onions with ¼ tbsp olive oil. On a grill or in a grill pan over medium high heat, grill whole bunch of green onions turning occasionally until charred in parts, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool 5 minutes. Add charred onions garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor. Pulse until chopped. Run adding remaining 1 TBSP olive oil 1 tsp at a time and process until fully incorporated and a thick paste* is formed. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of pasta water before draining. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add chicken broth and Italian seasoning. Simmer 1 minute. Stir in charred green onion paste. Simmer additional minute. Add tomatoes and shrimp. Cook for 3 minutes. Add ½ cup of pasta water. Continue to cook for 1 minute, or until shrimp are pink. Stir in pasta. Remove from heat. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
* Extra olive oil can be added to make a marinade for flank or skirt steak, chicken, or fish. Good served over coconut rice.
Put Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap On: What else could you add to the turnip crostini? A layer of red pepper hummus is good or roasted red peppers on top. Artichoke hearts one of my favorite additions. Want some color? Add dashes of paprika to finished crostini. Like cheese? Add the ricotta and the Parmesan. In both recipes, how about using flavored olive oils? Of course, garlic, but how about a spicy one? What else could you add to the pasta? Carrots would brighten it up. How about going Mediterranean and add black olives and feta cheese? Like the smoky flavor? Add a adobe pepper to processor. Think about any dishes you usually add green onions and the ingredients of that dish. Can easily substitute chicken or crawfish, too.
FOOD FUN: It is always fun to get into the kitchen and cook with friends. I was lucky to have my friend Connie volunteer to come be my beautiful sous chef. Remember Connie’s story of growing up in her family’s restaurant? So she was overqualified for the job! It was a wonderful morning. So grab a friend to join you in the kitchen, create and cook your own recipe together using fresh ingredients from a local farmers market, and then share the meal and friendship. There is an Irish Proverb that says, “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is”. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks Connie for the laughter and friendship.