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Golden Turnip Au Gratin Recipe

turnip au gratin on plate
turnip au gratin on plate - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Cooking vegetables au gratin is a popular way to give them a boost in flavor and texture. The term refers to cooking food with a browned and crispy crust, which is usually made from breadcrumbs or grated cheese. Potatoes au gratin may be the most well-known dish employing this technique. It features not only a browned crust on top but a thick, creamy cheese sauce in the interior of the dish between thin slices of potatoes. Many vegetables can be prepared au gratin, including broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, parsnips, leeks, fennel, corn, and squash. One vegetable that people may not immediately think of as an option for an au gratin dish is the humble turnip, but we assure you it's a delicious candidate.

Recipe developer Michelle Bottalico has created a golden turnip au gratin recipe that brings sophistication to this simple root vegetable. Thinly sliced turnips cook gently in saffron-infused milk, which gives them a golden color as well as a unique taste. The creamy slices are covered with a flavorful crunchy topping and then baked. While the topping would traditionally contain breadcrumbs and grated cheese, in this version we halve the breadcrumbs and add in ground almonds for a flavor, texture, and nutritional boost. A drizzle of melted butter before baking is the final touch. The colorful, rich, creamy, and crispy result is a unique and impressive take on a traditional gratin.

Read more: 23 Types Of Potatoes And When To Use Them

Gather Your Golden Turnip Au Gratin Ingredients

turnip recipe ingredients on table
turnip recipe ingredients on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

For this recipe, you will need turnips, of course. Purple top turnips work very well here. The crispy topping is made from 5 ingredients: whole almonds, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian parsley, and salt. Make sure to grab whole milk, a pinch of saffron threads, and butter for the creamy liquid the turnips will cook in. Finally, you'll use a little extra butter to grease the pan.

Step 1: Grind The Almonds

ground almonds on white plate
ground almonds on white plate - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Place the almonds in a food processor and process until roughly ground. If you don't have a food processor, you can finely chop them with a chef's knife.

Step 2: Make The Breadcrumb Mixture

colorful breadcrumb mixture in bowl
colorful breadcrumb mixture in bowl - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

In a small bowl, mix together the ground almonds, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Step 3: Slice The Turnips

sliced turnips on cutting board
sliced turnips on cutting board - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Wash and peel the turnips and thinly slice them with a knife or mandoline slicer.

Step 4: Place The Turnips In A Saucepan

sliced turnips in white saucepan
sliced turnips in white saucepan - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Place the turnips, milk, saffron threads, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan and stir gently to mix.

Step 5: Bring The Milk To A Boil

turnips and milk in saucepan
turnips and milk in saucepan - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Heat the pan on medium until the mixture comes to a gentle boil.

Step 6: Simmer The Turnips

golden turnip slices in pan
golden turnip slices in pan - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until most of the milk has evaporated and the turnips are fork-tender. Stir occasionally to coat the turnips in the liquid, being careful not to break them.

Step 7: Preheat The Oven

oven display showing preheat symbol
oven display showing preheat symbol - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 F.

Step 8: Grease A Baking Dish

greased baking dish on table
greased baking dish on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking dish with butter.

Slide 9: Melt The Butter

melted butter in small bowl
melted butter in small bowl - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

When the turnips are almost finished cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan. Set aside.

Step 10: Layer The Turnips

turnip slices layered in pan
turnip slices layered in pan - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Gently arrange the turnip slices at the bottom of the baking pan in a layer 1 or 2 slices high.

Step 11: Top With Breadcrumbs

unbaked turnip dish in pan
unbaked turnip dish in pan - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the turnips.

Step 12: Top With Melted Butter

unbaked turnip dish in pan
unbaked turnip dish in pan - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Pour the melted butter evenly on top.

Step 13: Bake The Turnips

turnip au gratin on table
turnip au gratin on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the tops of the turnips are crispy and golden brown.

Step 14: Serve The Golden Turnips Au Gratin

turnip gratin served on table
turnip gratin served on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

I Don't Like Turnips. Can I Substitute Other Vegetables In This Turnip Au Gratin Recipe?

three turnips on wooden table
three turnips on wooden table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

While turnip lovers enjoy eating this root vegetable in a variety of recipes, some people just don't like the way they taste. If you'd rather pass on turnips, you can still prepare this delicious recipe using other kinds of vegetables instead. For the best results, try using other root vegetables that have a similar texture to turnips but a different flavor. For example, parsnips have a similar texture but a sweeter taste. Jicama has a mild, sweet flavor and is another good substitute. With the often-overlooked celeriac (also called celery root)  you'll get the same texture but a pleasant, mild celery flavor.

Avoid using rutabagas in this recipe if you don't like turnips. They are often recommended as a good substitute for turnips, but that's because they taste very similar. If you don't like one you won't like the other. Carrots are a good option if you're not concerned about keeping the original look of the dish. Of course, you can always use potatoes: This popular choice for au gratin dishes is certainly delicious. The saffron and ground almonds in the recipe will help the potatoes stand out from many other potato au gratin recipes.

Can I Make Turnip Au Gratin Vegan Or Gluten Free?

breadcrumb mixture in white bowl
breadcrumb mixture in white bowl - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Gratin toppings are generally made with breadcrumbs and grated cheese. In this recipe, those two ingredients are combined with ground almonds, minced parsley, and salt. When sprinkled on the thinly sliced turnips and baked, this mixture turns into a golden brown topping that gives a delightful crunch and flavor to every bite. If you're following a gluten-free diet, you can still achieve this result. You can omit the breadcrumbs without sacrificing the crunch. One option is to replace the breadcrumbs with more ground almonds or other kinds of nuts or seeds. Other crunchy breadcrumb substitutes include crushed gluten-free crackers, cornflakes or gluten-free cereals, rice cakes, and potato chips.

Besides the grated Parmesan, you'll need to replace the whole milk used to cook the turnips and the melted butter that's drizzled on top. Consider adding roasted cashews to the breadcrumb mixture instead of grated cheese. Since you're adding a second kind of nut to the raw almonds, not to mention a roasted nut, you'll get a greater depth of flavor. Another option is nutritional yeast flakes, which are often used as a cheese substitute. You can use one of the various types of plant-based milk to cook the turnips instead of dairy milk. It would work well to drizzle olive oil or melted margarine on top of the slices before baking instead of butter.

Golden Turnip Au Gratin Recipe

baked turnip dish on plate
baked turnip dish on plate - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Prep Time: 25mCook Time: 25mYield: 4 ServingsIngredients

  • 10-12 whole raw almonds

  • 1 heaping tablespoon breadcrumbs

  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced

  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided

  • 1 ½ pounds turnips (about 3 medium-sized turnips)

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • 1 pinch saffron threads

  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for greasing

Directions

  1. Place the almonds in a food processor and process until roughly ground. If you don't have a food processor, you can finely chop them with a chef's knife.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the ground almonds, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

  3. Wash and peel the turnips and thinly slice them with a knife or mandoline slicer.

  4. Place the turnips, milk, saffron threads, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan and stir gently to mix.

  5. Heat the pan on medium until the mixture comes to a gentle boil.

  6. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until most of the milk has evaporated and the turnips are fork-tender. Stir occasionally to coat the turnips in the liquid, being careful not to break them.

  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 F.

  8. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking dish with butter.

  9. When the turnips are almost finished cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan. Set aside.

  10. Gently arrange the turnip slices at the bottom of the baking pan in a layer 1 or 2 slices high.

  11. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the turnips.

  12. Pour the melted butter evenly on top.

  13. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the tops of the turnips are crispy and golden brown.

  14. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.