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Shaved Baby Turnip Salad

At his restaurant Gather in Berkeley, Executive Chef Sean Baker uses commonly discarded vegetable parts in his dishes, such as the turnip tops that are tossed with this salad. Shave the turnips themselves just a touch thicker than paper-thin to retain the integrity of the vegetable, he says. If you can’t find baby White Doll turnips, substitute Scarlet or Gold turnips.

This recipe calls for several types of wild sea vegetables, which Chef Baker often uses at his restaurant. The Mendocino Sea Vegetable Co. is an excellent online source for these. If you can’t find sea palm, you can substitute nori, cut into thin strips. Keep in mind that sea beans are available only seasonally; they are optional in this dish.

Ingredients:

For the wakame oil:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 Tbs. coriander seeds
  • 1 length wakame, hand crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  •  
  • 1/2 oz. sea palm
  • 3 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
  • 2 bunches baby White Doll turnips, about 1 1/4 lb., shaved
      into 1/16-inch slices, tops washed, removed and reserved
  • 3 heads white Belgian endive, leaves separated
  • 3 heads red Belgian endive, leaves separated
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 oz. sea beans (glasswort), hand picked and broken into
      segments (optional)

Directions:

To make the wakame oil, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil, capers, thyme, coriander seeds, wakame and chili flakes. Bring to a simmer, then immediately remove from the heat and let steep for a few hours. Strain the oil. You will need 1/2 cup wakame oil for this recipe; store the remaining oil in the refrigerator for later use.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Place the sea palm on a small baking sheet and bake until crispy, 2 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, tamari and the 1/2 cup wakame oil. Add the shaved turnips, turnip tops, endive leaves and avocado and gently toss by hand. Season with salt.

Place the salad in the center of a plate, drizzling the remaining dressing from the bowl around the vegetables. Place the sea beans and crispy sea palm on top. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Recipe by Sean Baker, Executive Chef, Gather, Berkeley, CA.