The first time I cooked Turnip Fries I thought I was being super bold. Turnips have a somewhat pungent smell to them when cut (at least to me). So when I started cutting up turnips to give Turnip Fries a try, I had my mom face firmly in place and pronounced to my family (and myself) that we were going to try a new vegetable. Had I known that turnips, cut up and roasted like potatoes would mellow and become a little sweet – and bear a striking resemblance to actual homemade oven roasted potato fries, I would have started eating them years ago. I would like to say they are french fries with a grownup twist – except once I put the ketchup on the table my kids ate them. All of them, as in, we had no turnips left at the end of dinner. I didn’t think such a thing was possible. So rather than peel and cut and blanch and roast turnips every time I wanted them, I found it to be very easy to do it all at one time and freeze the turnip fries. The next time I want them for dinner, I plop them on a baking sheet, toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them like oven fries.
- Cut the turnip bulbs from the turnip greens (which you can reserve for a different meal!).
- Wash your turnip bulbs with cool fresh water from your tap. You want to remove any dirt – because who wants to eat dirt.
- Peel your turnips. I find it to be easier to peel turnips if I cut off the top and the bottom, making a flat surface to sit on the cutting board. Once they are peeled, I cut them into “fries.”
- Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. You want it to come to a rolling boil. Also prepare a second large bowl with cold water and ice.
- When you are ready to blanch the turnip fries, using a kitchen spider (to prevent splashing water on yourself) lower your turnip fries into the boiling water. The two minute countdown begins from the time you lower your turnips into the water, even if it stops boiling for a few seconds. Make sure the pot is on high heat and the water was a rolling boil first – this will help the water to come back up to temperature quickly. If you do not own a kitchen spider, it is extremely helpful during this process and not an expensive tool. You can find one at any kitchen store. Or you can order one here: WMF Profi Plus Large 13-1/2-Inch Wok Strainer.
- When the turnips have blanched for 2 minutes, using the kitchen spider again, remove the turnips from the boiling water and place them in the ice water. This will stop the cooking so that the fries still have a firm texture when you cook them later.
- Let the turnips sit in the ice water for the same amount of time as blanching – 2 minutes. Continue to add ice as it melts. If you are blanching batches of turnip fries, you do not have to pour this water out, you can reuse it up to 5 times. Just keep adding ice.
- Remove the turnips from the ice water. I generally move them to a clean kitchen towel.
- Place cooled turnip fries into a labeled and dated freezer bag before moving them to the freezer.
Next time turnip fries make the dinner rotation, just think – No Prep Work!