Dark and Light : Turnips
Lyon gets a wave of mystery and crime writers every Spring. Lyon's international crime writers' conference is in full swing and I look around fantasizing about what might be going through the minds of all these clean cut men dressed in black, the ones carrying satchels and strolling through the alleys and stairwells about town. I always let my imagination run wild. Who knows who they really are? Have they always been here? Lyon takes on an altogether more mysterious sheen and I relish every moment. I met with a fascinating author, William Bayer, and we had lunch together. I am reading his work in French since the English version of his books are not readily available here. Apparently it always rains during the Quais du Polar in Lyon, and this year was no exception, but I think it was meant to be that way. We enjoyed an afternoon walk nonetheless.
The booksellers are doing brisk business, since it really is time to venture out and try harder to bask in the relative warmth mother nature is mustering up at the moment. Now is the time to celebrate a mystery on a café terrace. This weekend, on the quai St. Antoine, we see that the oyster mushrooms are flourishing, as well as the coldhouse radishes. These hearty reminders of the sweet tender beauty to come ring like church bells on a chilly morning.
In the kitchen, now seems a good a time as ever to focus one last time on the nice baby-smooth winter turnips that are looking good at the producer's stands. They're sweeter than ones that have been stored, and are good for eating on their own. A glance into uses of turnips on French restaurant menus shows either simmering with legumes or a tendency to capitalize on the sweet - to caramelize the root itself, or pick up on that theme by pairing them with a rich maillard effect - roast or seared meats. Some simple ideas to get you thinking in the right direction:
Turnip purée served alongside roasted duck.
A cocotte of langoustine simmered with radishes and turnips might be good right now, considering the radishes.
A sirloin steak served with glazed turnips.
Pepper seasoned steak (mignonette) with young turnips and anchovies.
A golden baked turnip cake to serve with meats.
Spit roasted pigeon served with turnip "saurkraut", its legs stuffed with dates and chorizo.
Pressed foie gras terrine served with caramelized turnips.
Charcuterie served over baked shredded turnips.
Beef sirloin served with tender slow cooked orange-seasoned turnips.
Pan seared foie gras with cabbage root and turnip caramel.
Why not keep your eye out for the late winter turnips? This time of year it's easy to ignore them, but the winter varieties are very good.
Labels: Spring 09