Mash Up

Parmesan turnip polenta, Dew Abides
Parmesan turnip polenta, Dew Abides

It wasn’t my idea.

But that’s the beauty of being part of a CSA. Every week, you get to hang out with foodies who love to experiment with seasonal ingredients — most of whom are much more creative than I am and come up with some outta-this-world dishes.

While chatting about my newfound love of polenta with friend and farmer Chris Jackson at last week’s CSA pickup — and my desire to bake the next batch of said polenta with a Parmesan topping — he eyed one of the produce baskets, looked hungrily into the distance, and said, “Man, I bet that’d be good with some mashed turnips.”

Indeed, Chris. Indeed.

So with that inspiration, I hacked away in the kitchen, using the simplest of ingredients and lucked out on the first try. Paired with crispy chorizo and roasted radishes, the polenta was delicious. Even if you (or your small versions of adults) hate turnips, give this a try — the creamy texture and decadent cheese will win over the pickiest eaters.

Baked Parmesan turnip polenta

7/8 cup corn meal
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch (5 or 6) turnip roots, peeled
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Boil a pot of water and cook the turnip roots until soft, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in an oven-safe pot, make a half batch of Giada’s basic polenta recipe. Heat oven to 375°F. Drain turnips, mash, and puree with an immersion blender. Add turnips to polenta, and puree again with immersion blender. Top with cheese and bake 10-15 minutes, until cheese hardens a bit. (Note: depending on the texture of your corn meal, the cheese topping might not get terribly crispy because of the polenta’s moisture content, so don’t overcook waiting for it to brown.)

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