It’s turnip time! My farmer’s market here in Saarbruecken is full of beautiful bunches of white turnip, with the greens still attached. The name for these turnips is Mairübchen, literally “little May root” or “May root-let.” But they’re not little. Each turnip is about 2 to 3.5 inches in diameter. I’ve been buying lots of turnips just so I can eat the greens, but I had to figure out what to do with the turnips themselves.
I’ve never been a huge turnip fan, and I don’t have so many go-to recipe. I like them raw in salads, in soup (with leeks, potatoes, and chard), and in stews (like this tagine or Thai curry). But I had one last delicata squash from the fall that was turning soft and needed to get used up, and some leftover brown rice int the fridge, so rather than making an old recipe, I decided to try a new recipe for miso tahini soup from 101cookbooks. I love Peter Berley’s miso-based tortilla soup with avocados, so the addition of avocado didn’t seem that odd. But a miso soup with tahini and lemon juice? I could not imagine it. I followed the recipe exactly except I didn’t have any chives so I added scallions instead. I cooked the vegetables for less than 15 minutes, a they were soft much earlier.
I made this soup for breakfast, which Derek wasn’t too happy about. He’s never happy when I say I’m making soup, and it being breakfast time probably didn’t help. But the soup was amazing. Both Derek and I loved it. The combination of the miso and tahini is great, the nori adds a great ocean dimension, both the turnips and the squash add different textures and flavors, the rice adds more texture and gives the soup substance, the lemon zest flavor shines adds a bright, zesty note, the sesame seeds… I could go on and on. Every ingredient is distinctive, salient, and contributes something special to the soup, while somehow managing to harmonize into a single taste sensation.
As another plus, the soup is very easy to make. It’s got a lot of components but the whole thing comes together quite quickly if you have cooked rice on hand. You can prep all the toppings while the vegetable cook, so the whole recipe takes about 10-15 minute total cooking time. I’d even say it could be a one pot supper, but it’s a bit low on protein. Maybe next time I’ll try throwing in a bit of tofu?
I liked this soup so much I made it again a few days later, to use up more of my turnips. But this time I used two large turnips, and the soup was just as good. So feel free to increase the vegetable quantities.