Sunday, October 10, 2010

Turnips (or Cauliflower) with Parsley

I originally got this recipe for 'navets persilles' from the Julie/Julia project. In the original the turnips are par-boiled and then cooked again for 30 minutes. I don't usually blanch the turnips before boiling them, and I find they usually cook in less time (especially if they are fresh from the garden and not the hardened, wax-coated things you find in the store). Nowadays I make this more frequently with cauliflower than turnips, though I think any dense vegetable would work. Parsnips, celeriac, carrots, etc... It's so simple it barely calls for a recipe.

3-4 c. of a dense root vegetable or cauliflower, in chunks
salted, boiling water
3-4 Tbsp. butter
lemon juice
chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper
Aleppo pepper flakes or paprika (optional)

Boil the vegetables in well-salted water until tender. Toss with the remaining ingredients. Be careful with the lemon juice, so you don't add too much--usually one half of a lemon, gently squeezed, is enough.

Cilantro Chutney

You know what they say about the importance of food presentation...wait, what is it they say?

This zingy green sauce is often served with Afghani food. It's sort of a Central Asian version of pesto, though it does not contain oil. It's easy to make and keeps well. It's great on grilled meat, or anything really. You will need a blender or food processor.

1 large bunch cilantro or 2 smaller bunches
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
3 garlic cloves
4 walnuts
1 c. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. salt
1-2 Tbsp. sugar, to taste

Chop the cliantro, hot pepper, garlic, and wanuts in a food processor, until very fine. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar to taste. Alternately, combine all ingredients in a blender at once and blend until fine. Makes a watery chutney that tastes best after it sits for a couple of hours. Store in a tightly closed container in the fridge--should last for several weeks.

You can add some lemon or lime juice, but do not substitute it entirely for the vinegar, which gives an important sharp flavor to the sauce. The spiciness can be scaled up or down, depending on the type of peppers used and how many of them you include.