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White Turnip and Celery Leaves Salad

Ever wonder what to do with those unusual vegetables that seem to be popping up everywhere these days? I mean vegetables that may be a staple somewhere in the world but that are completely unfamiliar to you? I only discovered white turnips a couple of years ago. Before then, I was familiar with the more common (and often less loved) yellow rutabaga as well as the common turnip, which has a white and purple skin. I didn’t even know the white turnips existed! That is a bit sad since of all of the turnips I have tried, it is by far the sweetest. White turnip, sometimes called Japanese or Asian turnip, is fresh, crisp, a bit peppery and extremely versatile.

Although it is officially spring here in the Great White North, the rich and fertile fields have yet to offer much in the way of fresh produce. I am sure the odd patch of snow can be found in rural areas! Hopefully, in a few weeks, the hard working local farmers, those who are lucky enough  to force the hand of the season by jump starting the process in greenhouses, will soon start offering the tender first shoots of the season. I am “green” with envy for the first local asparagus, fiddleheads and plump little sweet peas… But until this becomes a reality North of 50, I guess I will simply be grateful that I can easily reach for beautiful produce from our American friends in Southern Sates. And hmmmm, dare I say that have been caught buying a few items travelling to my hometown all the way from South America, South Africa and Europe? As much as I love all our local roots, I am a bit beet tired these days and my mouth is definitely watering for the crisp, clean, astringent taste of spring greens! One of my family’s (and friends alike) favourite salads is this über simple one made with young, white, crisp turnips and fresh celery leaves. It is surprisingly yummy, extremely easy to toss together and economical.

It is my understanding that white turnips are currently in season in Italy: lucky for them! Reading posts from fellow bloggers recently, I came across this beautifully written article on white turnip. Not only is the prose exquisite, the recipes are truly mouth watering. A must read!  https://racheleats.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/no-laughing-matter/

Unfortunately for us, it will be a while before the nice, crisp and tall local celery makes an appearance at our farmers’ market. I had never used the leaves of celery raw before I concocted this recipe. Other than keeping the leaves from spoiling faster than the stalk, I now wonder why celery is sold in grocery stores without its flavourful tender foliage… Now that I know how tasty these leaves are, I always look for the stalk offering the most.

To make this salad, I use this really cool gadget called a spiralizer

If you do not own a spiralizer, simply grate, julienne or slice (paper thin) the turnip for equally sensational results.

Peel and grate 3 to 4 small white turnips
Chop celery leaves, about 1 1/2 cups (be carefree with this
3-4 green onions, finely chopped
Toss together with 1/3 part white vinegar and 2/3 part light tasting oil
Don’t forget to salt and pepper
Let sit at room temperature for an hour to let the flavours mingle well

This salad is hardy enough to keep a few days in the fridge. If you are lucky enough to have left overs that is!