Previously on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
So I was visiting my folks over the weekend and was asked if I could contribute a few dishes while I was there. Well, the first thing that came to mind was to try and remake Iron Chef Chen’s almond pudding (vegan version) to see if I could at least replicate what I made away from my own ktichen. It worked. My parents told me not to change a thing.
The next thing I thought was trying something new: The roasted turnips with dry miso from Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook (p. 78). Truth be told, it’s a staggeringly simple dish to make. To begin, just trim off the turnip tops, peel the turnip and then carefully cut off (and reserve) the turnip top. Also, trim off the bottom of the turnip so it is able to sit upright on its own. At that point, just rub the turnip (and the turnip top) all over with olive oil and season it all over with salt and pepper (in this case, I was using my standard 4:1 salt/pepper mix). All that’s left to do is to wrap the turnips with their reserved tops in a bit of foil, and before closing the foil up, sprinkle in a little sake; THEN close up the foil. The foil wrapped turnips go into a 430 degree pre-heated oven (according to the recipe), but my folks temperature dial didn’t have a 430 degree marking on their countertop oven, so I put it up to 450. The turnips cook in the oven for about 40 minutes. The turnips I chose to use were baby ‘kabu’ turnips that were probably about 3 oz each. The original recipe calls for using 1 6 oz turnip/person.
Once I got them out of the oven, I carefully peeled off the foil and transferred them to a common serving plate and set their respective tops off to their sides. All the was left to do was carefully cover the tops of the turnips with Nobu-style dried miso.
I must say, everyone was pleasantly surprised how well the appetizer turned out. As Matsuhisa-sama mentioned in the book, the kabu turned out ‘sweet’, juicy and tender and not stringy. The dried miso provided a nice salty crunchy counterpoint to the roasted kabu. Usually when I’ve used turnips, I’ve had to cut them into small pieces for a stew or roasting with a chicken (a la Thomas Keller). I’d definitely would like to see how well this approach works with other root vegetables!
Suzuki Farms Baby (“Kabu”) Turnips, Mitsuwa, Edgewater, NJ