Cheesy Turnip Fritters

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by Francesca Patterson

The winds are fast and outside temperatures are dropping a little each day and the occasion to indulge in your indoor crafts is among us, one of my ultimate favorite reasons to stay in and cook. In an attempt to try something new, something that I couldn’t describe to you, I really wanted to cook a recipe with turnips. 
 
Like most cold-weather crops, the main part that you’re going for lies beneath the surface. The part of these plants that we are eating is actually the taproot system, which is where the plant stores most of its sugar, vitamins, and other nutrients. The green leaves and stem that you will see above ground are also great for steaming or sauteeing, but today I focused on the tuber section. 
Upon first impressions, I definitely thought this vegetable was some kind of pastel-colored radish, or maybe even a not-so-distant cousin of kohlrabi. I am probably not wrong, as it holds a similarly spicy and peppery smell to it when raw. 
 
The inspiration for this dish arose from a hankering for fresh, hot potato latkes. Since the turnip is said to have a similar consistency, I thought it was worth a try. As an added bonus, turnips are a bit healthier than potatoes. There is just a fraction of the number of calories per cup of turnip versus potato, as well as significantly fewer carbs. 
 
This recipe so much fun to make with my family, as none of us knew what to expect at the end. We enjoyed the task of pressing them while frying them up and smelling the flavors come to life. More fun than frying them was the rewarding satisfaction of how deliciously these turned out. They had the classic crunch on the outside and warm, savory soft inside that made these disappear from the plate so quickly, we almost argued about having some leftover for the morning. If you want to try a slightly healthier and maybe even a more flavorful recreation of latkes/fritters, I highly recommend this straightforward recipe using turnips from the market!  
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb purple top turnips (peeled, cut into quarters and then grated) 
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 eggs (beaten) 
  • 3 tbsp bread crumbs 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste) 
  • Vegetable oil (or another frying oil) 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel the turnips and grate them by either using a food processor or a manual grater. Place the grated turnips in a colander and sprinkle with a few dashes of salt. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes, and then squeeze out extra moisture with a dishtowel. This is to remove excess water that will get in the way when frying.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the vegetable oil. Fold together until the eggs and all items are thoroughly distributed. 
  3. Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil on a large pan on medium-high. When the oil is hot enough that it begins to ripple just slightly, place 1/4 cup worth of the mixture on the pan. Press down with your spatula until flattened. Fry on each side for about 2 minutes or until it’s golden and crispy. For my pan, about three fritters were able to fit at a time. 
  4. Place finished ones on a baking sheet and in the preheated oven to stay warm and crispy while frying off the rest. Serve hot with a side of creme fraiche or sour cream. 
     
    This recipe produces about 6-7 fritters. Store in the fridge in an airtight container and reheat by toasting in the oven. 

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