Tender turnips amped up for Thanksgiving

  • Green olive pesto complements turnips quite nicely.

    Green olive pesto complements turnips quite nicely.

Posted11/20/2015 5:55 AM

The turnip is a vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide and known for its bulbous taproot.

Often confused with rutabagas, turnips are generally white at the bottom with a purple blush on the top where its greens (fresh and free from decay upon purchase) begin.


The larger the turnip in size, the more woody in texture it tends to be. While larger varieties are grown for livestock feed, the smaller, more tender kind are sold in markets for consumption by you and me.

They're perfect for an amped up Thanksgiving side dish such as my turnips in green olive pesto.

I'm always pleasantly surprised at the subtlety of this dish.

When I think green olives, I think of a strong salty flavor, but green olives in a pesto are not as overwhelming as you would think and they complement turnips quite perfectly.

Jumbo green olives from Ascoli, in the Le Marche region of Italy, are among my favorite.

Large and mild, these olives are ideal for blending with red onion, pine nuts and garlic to form a flavorful thick paste.

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This green olive pesto -- recipe courtesy of Molto Batali (Ecco, 2011) -- is also delicious tossed in pasta or served as an accompaniment to grilled meats.

To store the pesto, place it in a container with a tightfitting lid.

Cover the top surface with a thin layer of olive oil to create a seal, cover the container, and refrigerate for up to one week.

• Mario Batali is the award-winning chef behind twenty-five restaurants including Eataly, Del Posto, and his flagship Greenwich Village enoteca, Babbo.