Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a lovely way to support your local farmers, enjoy the freshest produce and diversify what’s on your plate. This summer I signed up for a share at Upswing Farm, our local, small scale farm that’s relatively new – it opened it’s doors just 2 years ago. So far, the shares were great, with excellent quality of local produce as well as a couple of items that I’ve never seen in my life before.
Introducing garlic scapes
In week 3, one such item were garlic scapes, which are twisty and curly green stalks that grow out of garlic plant and if left alone would develop a flower at the top. However, they are removed, usually in late spring and early summer, in order to help the growing garlic channel its energy into the bulb not the flower. The scapes are edible – who knew! – and full of the same garlic flavor so you can use them instead or in addition to (if you really love your garlic) the garlic cloves. I usually chop them finely, but they are funny looking and for this pan roast I decided to leave them intact, after trimming off the ends. If you don’t have garlic scapes, you could use garlic cloves, or whole scallions (green onions), or green (young) garlic. Any one of these will work to infuse your beets and young turnips with some nice flavors.
Pan roasting beets and turnips
The stars of our Week 3 CSA share were a bunch of beets and a bunch of baby turnips. Unlike huge and heavy turnips you usually find in the grocery store, these turnips are smaller and softer. You can cook them without peeling, and they require much less prep time then their more mature versions. They are delicious roasted, as are the beets.
But, we are in the middle of a heat wave and turning the oven on seems extremely unappealing. So, Dutch oven to the rescue! If you don’t know what a Dutch oven is, it’s a very heavy cast iron pot that is perfect for achieving nice caramelization without actual roasting. The best way to do this is to be patient, keep the heat on medium, put the lid on, and stir infrequently. This will help cook the veggies through while at the same time giving them nice roasted look and feel.
Don’t forget the glaze
What also helps the stove top roasting process is a simple balsamic vinegar glaze. This is nothing more than a splash of good quality balsamic vinegar that gets cooked and concentrated with the beets and turnip. The result is a shiny and rich side dish that works well warm as well as cold, especially as a topping for salads.
Don’t throw away the leaves
And since these are all really fresh pieces of produce, don’t forget that you can use the entire plant. So, don’t throw away the leafy parts of your beets and turnips as they can be made into a yummy side dish!
Balsamic Vinegar Glazed Beets and Turnips
What you’ll need:
1 bunch (5-6 medium) beets, washed, peeled and cubed
1 bunch young turnips, washed and cubed
5-6 garlic scapes, washed, trimmed, and roughly chopped into long pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
What you’ll do:
- Place a large Dutch oven or a cast iron pan over the medium high heat. Add the oil and garlic scapes. Brown for 1-2 minutes than add the cubed beets and turnips.
- Let the vegetables brown on one side before turning them over. This will take 5 minutes or so per side.
- After they’ve browned on two sides, add the vinegar and deglaze the bottom of the pan.
- Lower the heat to medium low, put the lid on and “roast” the vegetables for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Both beets and turnips should be soft when you pierce them with a fork, but not mushy or falling apart.
- Serve warm, or enjoy cold. The “roasted” beets and turnips will keep for close to a week in the fridge.
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018