Caramelized Tokyo Turnips

When I was working in Napa as a fledgling green grocer, I had several Chez Panisse alumni chefs who were regular customers. They all taught me so much but my all time favorite technique was for the Tokyo Turnip. Tokyo Turnips are a mild, juicy variety of turnip. We eat the tender roots of this plant, as well as the delicious greens. Tokyo Turnips are tender, slightly spicy and taste like a cross between a radish and a turnip.

Tokyo Turnip bunches
Remove the tops and reserve for another use or add them to vegetable stock. Wash the turnips and scrub any dark or discolored areas. No need to peel these skin tender morsels. Cut them in half, top to bottom. Any that are larger than ping pong balls should be quartered.

In a skillet large enough to hold all of your turnips cut-side-down add about ¼” of water and set on a medium high heat burner.  Simmer for 5 minutes and reduce heat to medium,  add two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of miso into simmering turnips. Allow the water to boil off and the butterfat to begin caramelizing the turnips.

Check the cut side of one turnip for browning. When the turnips have a golden-brown cut side, use your tongs to stir them all to coat the outside in brown butter. Check for doneness by piercing a turnip with a paring knife tip. They should be tender but not soft, a little “tooth” in the bite. Serve at once.

Golden brown and fork tender the turnips are ready. Deglaze your pan with a little white wine if you wish and pour over finished side dish to serve.