By the Book

Testing vegetable recipes from new ‘Brassicas’ cookbook

 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Brassicas’: </span>New cookbook by Laura B. Russell.
‘Brassicas’: New cookbook by Laura B. Russell.
Ten Speed Press

Side Dish

Sauteed Spring Turnips with Their Greens

1/2 pounds small white turnips with greens attached, about 2 or 3 bunches

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces Black Forest or other smoked ham, diced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Separate greens from turnips, discarding thin connective stems. Trim off and discard root end from each turnip. Wash and dry turnips and greens. Halve turnips then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Coarsely chop greens and keep in a separate pile.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add turnips and ham and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, until turnips begin to soften. Stir in salt and greens and cook for another 2 minutes, until greens wilt. Stir in vinegar and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Per serving: 138 calories (48 percent from fat), 7.4 g fat (1 g saturated, 5.2 g monounsaturated), 12.5 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fiber, 655 mg sodium.


Romanesco Summer Salad

1 cup water

1 medium Romanesco or regular cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size florets (about 5 cups)

2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup chopped fresh dill

3 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add Romanesco, cover and steam until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer Romanesco to a baking sheet to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Slowly incorporate oil, whisking to form an emulsified vinaigrette.

Put Romanesco in a serving bowl; add bell pepper, onion, dill, capers remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 4.

Per serving: 144 calories (62 percent from fat), 10.7 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 7.4 g monounsaturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 3.5 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 651 mg sodium.

Source: Both recipes adapted from “Brassicas” by Laura B. Russell (Ten Speed Press, $23).

On Saturdays when I open a boxful of fresh, local produce from my CSA, there is at least one vegetable I don’t recognize. Even after learning a vegetable’s name, what to do with it?

Lots, according to Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables, a new cookbook from Laura B. Russell.

• Sautéed Spring Turnips with Their Greens required a couple of ingredients I had never cooked with: cider vinegar and Black Forest ham. I had the white turnips the recipe called for but not their greens, so I used kale, grateful that Russell listed it as a substitute.

On my stove, sautéing on medium-high caused too much splatter, so I turned down the heat a little. The recipe didn’t say for how long the turnips and greens would keep, but I made them a day ahead and re-heated them on the stove, and they were lovely.

• Romanesco Summer Salad had me somewhat skeptical about eating cauliflower cold. (Russell acknowledges the veggie gets a bad rap: “Poor cauliflower, so underrated, so underappreciated,” she writes.)

To soften the Romanesco florets, the recipe says to cook them for two to three minutes in boiling water, which I found was just enough. Mixed with bell pepper, sliced onion, dill and capers, cool cauliflower made a refreshing salad.

The vinaigrette, however, really got the salad to sing. It also gave good use to a forgotten jar of whole-grain Dijon (mustard doesn’t get old, right?) in my fridge. I should have made double.

By the Book checks out recipes from new cookbooks. Patricia Mazzei is a Miami Herald staff writer.

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