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Posts Tagged ‘turnips’

For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Rape Dolci (Sweet Turnips). Even the turnip hater will find it easy to like this dish—the sugar and butter offset the natural bitterness of the turnip. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe.

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On Valentine’s Day, I bid farewell to Trieste and took the train to Udine, where I discovered that the sottopassaggio (underground walkway) held a passage leading from the train platforms across the busy street to an exit next to Hotel Principe. This was more convenient than exiting into the busy station, and I was glad to avoid all the crowds. I checked into my familiar hotel—I was a return guest now, and the staff greeted me with an extra dose of friendliness, which would only grow over the next couple years.

My room felt a bit chilly, and I couldn’t resist crawling into bed and napping for the rest of the afternoon. For dinner, I chose the elegantly rustic Hostaria Alla Tavernetta, where the black-clad proprietor, Roberto, reminded me vaguely of Rod Stewart minus the spiky hair. Being Valentine’s Day, the restaurant was completely booked. But since I had arrived precisely at 7:00 (and since Italians typically eat late), they agreed to serve me if I promised to be finished by 8:00.

To start, I ordered ravioli filled with pear and topped with cheese and poppy seeds. They weren’t called cjalsòns on the menu but were practically identical to the Carnian dish I had grown to adore. In fact, the very next summer in Carnia I would try several versions of pear-filled cjalsòns. I also ordered goulasch with potatoes, but somehow in all the confusion I was served musetto with mashed potatoes and brovada instead. The owners were now frantically rushing back and forth, decorating each table for the romantic holiday, and I decided not to complain about the mistake.

Musetto is a Friulian sausage made from pig snout, and brovada is its traditional accompaniment. Following an ancient recipe, brovada is made from turnips that have been pickled in grape “marc” (the solid matter that remains after grapes are pressed) for at least one month. Here is my shortcut version of brovada:

1 pound turnips, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch julienne strips
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
• • •
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In advance, combine the turnips, red wine, and vinegar in a medium bowl, making sure that the turnips are completely submerged in the liquid. Refrigerate for 48 hours; drain.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the drained turnips, beef broth, parsley, sage, and black pepper; cook until the turnips are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt.

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