Spring turnips have an elegant flavour and only a very mild bitterness, which is actually very pleasant. Like white asparagus, they are far more embraced in the continent than they are here in the UK, where they aren’t really in most people’s consideration when browsing the aisles. They are largely seen as unloved and out-dated due to memories of them being boiled into submission for school dinners; they are about as fashionable as tripe and lard. Large autumn turnips can indeed be very bitter and fibrous, but the springs ones are crisp and nutty. They are actually a member of the mustard family, hence the peppery bite at the end. The crunchy white flesh and vibrant green leaves both look and taste healthy, and they need very little to make them delicious. The lime and honey dressing is an effortless stunner, and goes perfectly with the turnips: either cooked or raw.
Lime & honey dressing
2 Limes, zest and juice (35g juice required)
100g Virgin rapeseed oil
Spring turnips, stems removed and finely chopped
Marjoram (if available)
- Place lime, salt and honey in a mug or narrow container and gradually blitz in the oil with a stick blender to emulsify. Failing that, just shake together in a jam jar.
- Either finely slice the turnips (on a mandolin or with a peeler or sharp knife) and keep raw, or cut into wedges and blanch for 1 minute in boiling lightly salted water, then remove and transfer to a bowl.
- Mix in the chopped stems and then the dressing; you can be very generous with the latter.
If available, mix with some marjoram, though just a light sprinkle.