Melange of spring roots

Turnips caught my eye as I wandered the farmer’s market this past weekend. Helen Solem of Sumas River Farm offered up these small, tender bulbs she calls Purple Tops. When this young and fresh, the still-thin skin needs only a thorough washing and maybe a light hand with a vegetable brush.  

Baby spring turnips are lovely braised with a little butter and light vegetable stock, lightly seasoned and cooked just until soft. But I’d also picked up some radishes and sweet carrots from Terra Verde, and opted to roast a spring vegetable melange.

The vegetables took only simple preparation: washed and dried, cut (if necessary) to uniform size, tossed with a little olive oil and roasted in a small pan at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. They become nicely caramelized, soft but not mushy. At the same time in a separate pan, I crisped several sliced of prosciutto, then quickly tore them roughly into one- or two-inch pieces.

Five minutes before removing the vegetables from the oven, I tossed in some chopped shallots; they would have burned had I added them at the beginning. Before roasting, I’d removed the turnip greens and chopped them, along with some fresh thyme leaves. Finally, when everything was out of the oven, I tossed the greens and herbs into the roasted vegetables, along with the shreds of prosciutto.

Turnips and radishes have a pleasant bite that melds wonderfully with the sweetness of roasted young carrots. The peppery turnip greens and salty prosciutto lend the right balance of spiciness. Consensus among two adults and two teens: delicious.

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