Turnip Gratin

I’m guessing that you are either a turnip lover or not. Turnips aren’t one of those happy-go-lucky neutral vegetables, like green beans for example, that seem to get along with everyone. No, turnips have a bit more “I dare you to eat me” attitude, that unfortunately ends up keeping too many people away from them. Well, if you are a turnip lover, you should be drooling right now, just with the very concept of this turnip gratin, a casserole layered with thinly sliced, tender turnips, onions, bread, and bubbly browned Gruyere cheese. You will not be disappointed (at least I hope you won’t). If you fall in the “uh, maybe not, no, no thank you” camp, if there is one recipe that could possibly change your mind, this is it. We have made it 4 times in the last 2 weeks and will likely find its way to our Thanksgiving table this year. So, if you’re on the fence, give it a shot!

This recipe serves four, but it can easily be doubled. If you double it, use a 9x13 casserole dish. This recipe works best with young turnips with relatively high moisture. Large old turnips, or storage turnips, that are tougher and drier may need to be blanched for more than 3 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized young turnips (about 1/2 pound total), peeled, and sliced 1/8-1/4 inch thin
  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 slices white bread (enough to make two single layers in the pan), crusts removed
  • A few slices of onion, very thinly sliced, enough to cover the pan in one layer
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8x5 baking pan or casserole dish

Method

1 Preheat oven to 325°F. Blanch the raw turnip slices in salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from water and drain.

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2 Coat the inside of the casserole dish with olive oil. Place a layer of bread on the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer on half of the turnip slices in a single layer, season with salt and pepper. Layer on all of the onions. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Add another layer of bread, turnips, and cheese. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper.

3 Place casserole on top rack of oven. Cook for 25 minutes. For the last few minutes, if you want, and you are using a pan (metal or ceramic) that can safely handle broiling temperatures, broil for a couple minutes to brown the top.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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