Meatless Mondays: Hakurei Turnip Frittata

These Japanese root vegetables give spring cooking a sweet touch.

(Photo: Ian Knauer)

Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He worked for ‘Gourmet’ and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook ‘The Farm.’

Why meatless on Mondays? Not only is eating less animal protein a healthy diet choice, but curbing your meat consumption can have a significant environmental impact too. In 2006, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that animal agriculture accounted for a full 19 percent of greenhouse gases—more than the transportation sector. Best of all, with recipes like these, going meatless can be a delicious weekly habit.

This can be a frustrating time of year when it comes to fresh produce. The fields and trees are bursting with green, so it feels like summer—but we're not there just yet. Of course, asparagus was a great relief after a long, hard winter. And we've had more than our share of ramps and radishes. But I am yearning for more vegetables, and they're not ready.

I have a friend who is a farmer. She runs a produce CSA nearby and knows that her customers are anxious for a little variety too. Sure, she piles stacks of radishes and asparagus into their weekly boxes this time of year, but she also includes an obscure champion of spring: the Hakurei turnip.

Hakurei turnips, also called Japanese turnips, are about the size of a large radish but boast a pristinely white bulb and tender, edible greens. They have a mild, almost sweet flavor with just an edge of turnip bite. When cooked they become buttery and tender. 

These little nuggets are terrific raw, but I prefer them cooked just until they are soft and their sweetness emerges front and center. Add them into your late-spring repertoire to change up your menu.

Hakurei Turnip Frittata

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bunch Hakurei turnips with their greens 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup water

6 large eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Separate the greens from the turnips, and coarsely chop the greens. Halve the turnips.

Cook the greens in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Then drain the greens and reserve.

Heat the oil in a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Stir in the turnips and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil; then cover the skillet. Cook the turnips until tender, about 5 minutes more; then uncover the skillet and boil until the liquid is completely evaporated.

Whisk together the eggs, sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the turnips; then scatter the greens over the egg mixture. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the eggs are just set, about 10 minutes. Serve.

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