The Gilfeather turnip bears the name of its developer, John Gilfeather (1865-1944), of Wardsboro, VT. Gilfeather kept the seeds to himself, but, thankfully, a few managed to make their way to local farmers Mary Lou and Bill Schmidt. After learning this vegetable was native to Vermont, the couple had the turnip certified as an heirloom by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and as an organic variety by the Unites States Department of Agriculture. To this day, it remains one of the cold northeastern state’s signature vegetables, and Slow Food Foundation’s Ark of Taste included it in its catalogue of heirloom varietals. This root is mild in taste and tender in texture. The Gilfeather turnip is sweet, creamy and buttery. It slices easily, cooks quickly, and is totally gratin-worthy.
Try this savory turnip at home with this recipe!
Roasted Gilfeather Turnips with Truffle Salt, Creamy White Beans, and Crispy Onions
From Chef Olivia Roszkowski, of the Natural Gourmet Institute
For roasted Gilfeather turnips:
4 pounds Gilfeather turnips, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
6 sprigs fresh thyme, destemmed
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
For garlic confit:
2 heads garlic, peeled
¾ cups organic canola oil
For white beans:
1 cup cannellini beans, soaked
1 piece kombu kelp
½ teaspoon sea salt
For crispy onions:
1 large yellow onion, thin sauté slice
¼ cup arrowroot starch
1 cup canola oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ tablespoon truffle salt, to taste for garnish
1. Roasted Gilfeather turnips: Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss the sliced turnips with thyme leaves, olive oil, and salt. Arrange in a single layer on parchment-lined sheet trays and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender.
2. Garlic confit: Place peeled garlic cloves and oil in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer over low heat. Cook for 20 minutes, or until golden and tender.
3. White beans: Drain beans and place them in a small saucepan with kombu, and covered by 1½ inches with cold, fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain and toss with golden garlic cloves.
4. Crispy onions: Toss cut onion in arrowroot and place in strainer to dust off excess. Heat oil in a large deep sauté pan for approximately one minute, or until slight ripples appear. Fry the onion (in batches if necessary) until crisp, stirring carefully and frequently. Drain on paper towels and season with sea salt.
5. To serve: Layer each vegetable piece with white bean-garlic mixture. Garnish with garlic oil, crispy onions, and truffle salt.