Turnip Scallops à la Provençale

Harkourei radishes (salad radishes) are sliced and seared to resemble scallops. Cooked aside white wine herb sauce, they make a lovely vegan little appetizer.

these turnips are sliced and seared to resemble scallops, using a recipe derived from the great Julia Child. vegan.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently purchased a copy of Julia Child’s opus Mastering the Art of French Cooking. My goal was to work through it, perhaps not thoroughly, but as thoroughly as I could, and veganize the recipes therein. It was un peu fou, as much of the volume relies on the cooking of animal-derived foods.

these turnips are sliced and seared to resemble scallops, using a recipe derived from the great Julia Child. vegan. 

Even though I’ve always been marginally aware of Julia Child, I never knew that much about her, or paid much attention to her work. I know, blasphemy. I recently Overdrive-downloaded the audiobook version of  Julia’s My Life in France, to listen to while I worked around the house. By the time I was done listening, I’d gone from “yeah-she’s-that-tall-bon-appetit-lady” to honest Julia fan. Yeah, late to the Julia club, noob, but I’m here now.

One of my favorite parts of the book was listening to how MTAOFC came about, and all the years and tears gone into its creation. I’ve never owned a copy, or even leafed over one, so I decided to order a used copy off Amazon. I was delighted when it arrived — it appeared have been printed about 10 years after the original release in 1961, but was in very good shape. Original dust jacket and all.

these turnips are sliced and seared to resemble scallops, using a recipe derived from the great Julia Child. vegan.

I spent a few days perusing the pages before attempting a recipe. I chose poulet sauté aux herbes de Provence (chicken sauteéd with herbs, garlic, egg yolk, and butter) as my first trial. For the “chicken,” I used some tender baby bok choy. Four trials later, forehead simmering, I was out of bok choy and no closer to success. Thus my first day with the project was a waste of pinot and produce.

My second day was far more successful. I brought some hakourei turnips (salad turnips) home from the farmer’s market, with plans to attempt a scallop dish. I knew the the turnips, once peeled and sliced, would resemble a scallop perfectly. Now all I had to do was not mess it up.

these turnips are sliced and seared to resemble scallops, using a recipe derived from the great Julia Child. vegan.

I look a lesson from the previous day and decided to start off with tiny trial batches, so I wouldn’t waste everything if I did it wrong. After a few lost turnips, I found my stride. I cooked the sauce and the turnips separately, so that I could sear the turnip with a little bit of cornmeal without it getting soggy. The result was a nice turnip scallop that was crispy on the outside and fork-tender in the middle.  The sauce was not overpowering, but rather complemented the turnip notes in a pleasant way.

So in a win-loss chart, it’s Book:1, Annie :1.

Photo titled “kitty reading julia child, or what happens when you leave a book on the floor around here.”

 

Provence Scallop Turnips

Navetes St. Jaques à la Provençale

  • 2 1/2 tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 scant cup finely diced purple onion
  • 1 1/4 tsp microplane grated garlic
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • a pinch or two brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 pounds hakurei turnips (salad turnips)

you will need two heavy bottomed, shiny, stainless steel skillets — about 9-10 inches is good. you will also need a fine-mesh strainer

  1. Peel the turnips and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them and set aside.
  2. Warm the coconut oil over medium heat until it bubbles and sparkles.
  3. Add the onion to the coconut oil and cook, stirring almost continually, for about 8 1/2 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and continue to cook for about another minute.
  4. Remove pan from heat and strain the onion-garlic infused oil into a second pan. Set the second pan aside.
  5. Return the first pan, along with the garlic and onions, to heat. Add the wine, thyme, lemon juice and zest and brown sugar.
  6. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and then, allowing to reduce. Taste and add salt as needed. Turn off heat but cover to keep warm.
  7. Pat the turnips dry (they will have sweated some from the salt and pepper), and toss them in the cornmeal, coating evenly on all sides.
  8. Take the second skillet (the one with the infused oil in it) and bring it to medium heat. Add the turnips, cooking for 3 1/2 -4 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp all around. You may need to work in batches.
  9. Add turnips to small serving plates. Allow diners to spoon the herb-onion-white wine sauce over turnips just prior to taking their first bite. If the turnips sit in the sauce to long, the crisp golden bottoms will get a little soggy.
  10. Enjoy, serve with love.

adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, coquilles St. Jaques à la Provençale

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