Sunday, January 6, 2008

Decadent Turnips

So, the February copy of Bon Appetit came in the mail this week and I happened to be leafing through it that night and 2 things leaped right out at me. The first is Orangette is now writing a column for Bon Appetit and as usual its really witty. The second thing that jumped at me was the Pancetta and Sesame Coated Turnips.

OH BLISS! Turnips, so crunchy and peppery, wrapped in bacon, the Italian variety, and deep-fried. How decadent! How utterly fattening. And wait a minute... if the recipe has them deep fried, and I'm making them, that means I have to deep fry. Shoot. I really really like deep fried food, but I have a well grounded fear of deep frying because of the opportunity to set things afire. [It's like when I bike ride, I take my life in my own hands because of my thin wheeled bicycle and the excessive speeds I like to travel at. That and I fall off frequently.] In case you were unaware of my ability to set ovens (and stoves) on fire, see this post here.

So I carefully chopped up the peeled turnips. And then the difficulty began. Wrapping pancetta around turnips is nowhere close to as easy as it sounds. Several of my pancetta slices shredded. Undeterred, I chopped my turnips smaller and nibbled away on the raw turnip schnippels (cutting scraps). Still wildly unsuccessful, I cut the turnip wedges and the pancetta slices in half. This turned out much easier. Then I had to dip them in an egg. Then all the pancetta fell off the turnips and for those turnips I had to start at the beginning again. Aaargh! I finally decided to brush the pancetta turnip pieces with egg and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Whew. Now that they looked reasonably like I expected them to, I faced the tricky part. Deep Frying.

Frying them didn't turn out so bad. I didn't light anything on fire anyway. And the first batch I had a whole bunch of deep fried turnips and a bunch of sesame coated pancetta. At this point I got creative and I set the Bon Appetit gently down across the room on the floor. (well its my story and I'll tell it how I want to.) I decided to put all the as yet still wrapped up turnip pieces in the oven at 350° and I deep fried the rest of the turnip pieces that were either separated from their pancetta or were from the pile of raw turnips that I hadn't finished snacking on.

The Brain, who was happily eating leftover spaghetti and watching football ate the pancetta-sesame pieces and later helped eat the deep fried turnips. He also performed the happy duty of getting rid of the hot oil. What a good husband!

The deep fried turnip pieces actually turned out pretty tasty.

I kept the pancetta and sesame turnip pieces in the oven until the turnips were soft. Maybe it was 35 minutes. And you know what? They were pretty darn tasty. I may make them again. Now that I know I don't have to deep fry them anyway...

Pancetta- and Sesame Coated Turnips
adapted from Bon Appetit

16 very thin pancetta slices (Italian bacon; about one 3oz package)
2 large turnips (each about 8 oz.), peeled, each cut into 8 wedges
1 large egg
sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350°
Cut each of the turnip wedges in half crosswise and each of the pancetta slices in half. Wrap the pancetta half slices around the turnip pieces. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a sheet of parchment paper. Brush each pancetta covered piece with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Turn the turnip pieces so as to cover all sides with both beaten egg and sesame seeds.(According to the original recipe the turnips can be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead of time.)

Place the baking sheet in the oven for approximately 30 to 35 minutes until a fork is easily inserted in a turnip piece. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.


Kristen said...

Happy New Year!
I wanted to let you know that you have been matched in the adopt a blogger event. Please visit each others websites and revisit the initial adopt a blogger post as a reminder of the expectations for this event.
Thanks for participating and have fun getting to know each other!
Please let me know if you have any questions.

Dine and Dish

Your match:

Adopt a blogger post:

Deborah said...

I have never had turnips before. I keep meaning to try them, and this sounds like a good recipe to try them with!

Cynthia said...

Hi Mary! A very happy new year to you and Mr. Brain :)

I'm Cynthia of and I wanted to send you an email introducing myself... I've already gone ahead and added you to my blog feeds and blog roll. Looking forward to getting to know you better. When you have a chance, you can drop me a line at:

Zylo said...

Oh, gimme gimme. I love turnip greens, but I've never had the actual root part. It's the South; we don't eat those. I'd love to try this though.