I marvel at the ability of the purveyors at farmers’ markets to bother getting out of bed, let alone show up at the markets at dawn, on wet, freezing days like today. But I for one am ecstatic that they do. The produce and products I found this morning in San Rafael seemed to set records for quality and freshness.
I bought a lot of stuff, but the smallish red turnips and their burgeoning green tops stood out. I was seeing soup. I often made soup from these when I lived in Japan, where they were a staple at the local market, and where I learned to cook and appreciate
I started by bringing two small pots of salted water to a boil. In one went the trimmed greens (you want to pull off delicious leaves from their tough backbones, which are then tosses in to the compost), the other got five medium-size turnips and a knob of sliced galangal (Thai ginger) I had sitting around. I simmered the greens for a few minutes, drained, and threw them into the blender with about a cup of 2 percent milk, and made a beautiful, golf-course-green puree, which actually looked a lot like a good bowl of matcha.
While the turnips simmered, I sauteed a roughly chopped onion in ghee (clarified butter) for a few minutes until softened, and transferred them to the blender (which I had just rinsed out). When the turnips were cooked (about 30 minutes total), they too went into the blender, along with a few cups of chicken stock and a cup of the now-pinkish boiling water.
The turnip-onion soup was then poured into one of my favorite bowls, given a dusting of umami salt (my next post will be on this amazing salt blend), a pinch of pepper, and a swirl of the green puree. It all went down like root-gold from the earth!