harukei turnip, radish, and bitter greens salad + real life

harukei turnip, radish, and bitter greens salad // brooklyn supper
harukei turnip, radish, and bitter greens salad // brooklyn supperLet’s begin here: I hadn’t really meant to take a break from the blog, but it just kind of happened. At first, I was taking a little time to think about my blog and what it’s for. There are So.Many.Food.Blogs. And lots of them are the work of incredibly talented and passionate people. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to keep throwing my stuff out there, hoping that amidst all that greatness, my tiny slice of this huge internet will continue to be meaningful. (And please know, I am totally not fishing. These are just the cruel facts, people.)

So it started in March with me thinking I should take a small break. Meet some of the other pressing deadlines for my freelance stuff and give myself time to think on things. I’ve had a few ideas floating around for a while now, but never seem to find the pause button I need to see them through.
harukei turnip, radish, and bitter greens salad sm 5And then, so predictably, life happened. I spent a lot of the month not working on the weekends and instead spending time with the family. Things on the home front are in flux these days, with our oldest daughter quickly becoming an all-out kid, and really neither Brian nor I have any idea how to deal with this new person and her eternal quest for independence. I mean, I think of myself as being really good at parenting the littles. But bigs? I am lost. For real

Later, there were some health things with our oldest that we’re still wading through. I’ll say that I’m nearly positive that things are fine and are going to be fine, but we’ve had a few weeks with visits to various pediatric specialists, and no matter how brave or prepared or rational you are, that shit is scary. Also, in the face of all that, can I really wax on about a salad?

harukei turnip, radish, and bitter greens salad sm 4But writing about salad is kind of my job, so yesterday, despite all the uncertainty/worried stuff, I dragged myself to a favorite haunt to pick up some of whatever is good right now. The late start to spring has meant that there’s still relatively little local stuff to be had; still, one can find motley bunches of asparagus, lots of radishes, turnips, herbs, and the beginnings of bitter greens. 

Had I never belonged to a CSA, it’s certain that I’d never have come to love bitter greens as I do. They’re so perfectly of-the-moment, encapsulating all the verdant green-ness of the season in one bite. It’s also worth noting that the early bitter greens, like mustard, radish, and turnip greens, are all really great right now. As they age, the greens take on more bitter spiciness and toughen up quickly. Late in the season, they’re best braised; but right now, they’re perfect for salads.

This salad is a riff on something I make each spring. Little white harukei turnips have a milky bite and are one of my early spring favorites. Traditional radishes play off of them well, offering up a little spice. The greens wilt nicely under a sprinkle of sea salt and a light vinaigrette, and everything gets a final hit of sweetness from caramelized shallots.

harukei turnip, radish, and bitter greens salad // brooklyn supper

Harukei Turnip, Radish, and Bitter Greens Salad
serves six

This is a simple salad meant to showcase early spring ingredients without a lot of fanfare. As such, I’ve included the most basic of vinaigrette recipes, the one I turn to almost daily. If you’d like something a bit more complex, feel free to sub in your fave. A creamy buttermilk affair would probably be divine.

This recipe makes a lot of salad. Happily, it holds up surprisingly well, so consider making it for dinner and then bringing it for lunch or dropping a fried egg on it for an awesome breakfast.

for the vinaigrette
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
tiny pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Whisk the olive oil and sea salt into the lemon juice until mixture gets creamy and emulsified.

for the salad
3 large shallots
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
1 bunch haukei turnips, with greens
1 bunch small radishes, with greens
1 bunch mustard greens
2 tablespoons minced chives, with or without blossoms
sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter or ghee and add the shallots. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring a bit. Turn heat to low and cook for 20 minutes more, giving them a nudge every now and then.

Meanwhile, trim the greens from the turnips and radishes and set aside. Slice turnips and radishes paper thin, very carefully using either a sharp knife or mandoline. Toss turnip and radish slices with a pinch or two of sea salt, and two tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Set aside while you wash the greens.

The turnip and radish greens will likely be sandy, so submerge them in a sink of water to get the sand out, and then wash and spin as normal. Tear into pieces and set in a big bowl. For my salad, I used only a bit of the radish greens –– taste yours and then add them according to your preference. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on the greens, drizzle in enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the leaves, and toss with your hands.

To serve, toss the greens with the turnips, radishes, and any accumulated juices. Top with warm shallots and minced chives; finish with a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I’m feeling the exact same way over here on Canada’s East Coast. The food blog scene has exploded and I too am feeling rather overwhelmed. There is sometimes simply too much inspiration!

    I love what you’re all about here at Brooklyn Supper and despite not having kids, you’re one of my favs. Thanks for being real and never ever change.

    • Elizabeth says

      Hi Kathy, Your comment made my day. Really. Thanks for reading, and creating such gorgeous content yourself! Visiting your part of the world is a longtime dream of mind (sorry, yeah, it’s totally Anne of Green Gables-driven, but still), so maybe one day I’ll make it up your way. Until then, blogger solidarity all the way.

  2. says

    Wishing all good things for you…it’s so hard to wait and wonder with our kids. As far as doing the whole big kid thing…I struggled with it too. I think we all do. It takes a bit of time to get used to them being older, then one day you stop and realize that you’ve got it down as much as you can. And that’s probably as much or more than most. I love your honesty and that you took the time needed for you and your family. Welcome back. Oh…and this salad…gorgeous! xo

    • Elizabeth says

      Hi Caroline, That’s good to hear. I’m totally going to corner you and interrogate you for all your big kid wisdom at the next BSP. And thanks for the good thoughts –– we’re still wading through and hoping for the best.

  3. says

    Well I “thought” things were a little quiet over here…… You know what a fan I am of you – both personally and professionally. Hope all is well and that your break helped you figure out how to place this stuff in the “right” place for you. xoxo

    • Elizabeth says

      Thanks for the kind words, Sheri. It’s so nice to have a good friend in this crazy internet world *and* in real life.

  4. says

    I’m with you. 100%. I keep running the rat race of blog life for reasons unknown. Maybe because it’s habit. Maybe because it’s my hobby. Maybe because I’ve allowed it to become a very large piece of my identity. I echo everyone else. I love this space you’ve created. Also, I really need to do a CSA to expose myself to bitter greens.

    • Elizabeth says

      Melissa, Yes to all this! I have had the exact same thoughts lately. My hobby became a job, and while it’s awesome (like, AWESOME) it also takes away from the original idea and spark that had me start the site in the first place. I miss the days of crappy orange-tinted pics and from-the-hip writing.

      It’s funny what you say about identity, too. That was a huge thing keeping me in Brooklyn. It just felt like who I was. One year out, I’m glad I let go. But I know blogging decisions are much different from moving ones.

  5. says

    I think everyone needs to take a step back from blogging every now and then; otherwise it can just feel like a treadmill where you’re churning out content week after week. I’m sorry though that there are so many other things going on as well and I’ll keep everything crossed for good news with your eldest’s health.

  6. says

    So sorry about all the negative stuff.. I’ve been there with having crazy weird issues arise. Your first paragraph though, resonated with me so much this week. I often feel the same and it’s kind of refreshing to see that others feel the same, especially someone that I, myself, am inspired by. Hope all stays well! -j

    • Elizabeth says

      Hi Jaimie, The crazy issues are so tough! I’m hoping we’ll make a little progress in at least figuring things out next week.

      And I’m so glad to hear the post resonated with you. There are so many pleas out there for slower blogging and a more thoughtful web, but it also feels like slacking off just sets us behind in this internet rat race. Tough to solve, but at least it’s in the air.

  7. says

    I haven’t been here in ages (my own kind of blog-related break) and am so happy to have returned to catch up a little bit on how things are in your life. I’m sorry that it’s not easier news. As you may remember, I know all too well what it’s like to be in the midst of unknown health issues with your child. There is nothing more petrifying. Even though we seems to be in the clear, I sometimes have a hard time shaking the fear. It was so profound. I’m sorry that you are going through something similar. As for theblogging, well, you know that I get that, too. I have no answers-lol-but can offer that you have created a gorgeous and thoughtful space. and i’m happy to be here. i hope you find a meaningful and satisfying way to continue! miss you. xo

  8. says

    I know all too well those feelings (regarding both blogging and scary issues with my child). I hope that things turn out well. We will be sending lots of good thoughts your way. And perhaps we can give them in person sometime before the next BSP. Hugs.

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