These are baby turnips, also called salad turnips, and are different from the purple and white, large storage turnips you might be used to seeing in the store. They’re more like radishes. You can eat them raw, as they’re tender even without being cooked, and have a pretty neutral flavor with a little bit of a radish-like bitter bite.
I still had a bunch of turnips from last week’s CSA, as well as a bunch from this week. I’ve tried mashing, roasting, and pan-frying turnips before, and I just don’t love them. They always seemed a little watery and tasteless. I figured I hadn’t tried throwing a bunch of cheese on top yet, so that was the treatment they got tonight!
I originally thought I’d try Ree’s Turnip Gratin, but I couldn’t visualize how all that liquid was going to come together in the baked dish. So instead I turned to my own Cauliflower Gratin, halving the white sauce (1 Tbsp. butter, 1½ Tbsp. flour, 1 cup of hot 1% milk, seasoned with about a 1/4 tsp. each of nutmeg and garlic powder, plus black pepper) but using a little more cheese (about 6 oz. of Gruyere). In retrospect, I should have included the turnip greens with the gratin — I think it would have been tasty and would have better balanced the amount of cheese I used. Truthfully I was a little irritated with the darn turnips and just threw the greens away.
The gratin baked for about 40 minutes at 375°, until it was bubbly and golden brown. It was surprisingly delicious! My mom thought the dish was made with potatoes, and aside from being a little runny it definitely tasted like a completed dish, not just some turnips with cheese baked on top.
I served the turnips with challah, hard-boiled eggs, and steamed green beans (yes, there are yellow green beans too):