An Elegant Brunch Dish: Cheese and White Turnip Pie

An Elegant Brunch Dish: Cheese and White Turnip Pie

Looking for something both elegant and different to serve for a summer brunch? Don't overlook the delightful taste of spring turnips — or their nutritional value. These root vegetables contain potassium and iron and are a good source of vitamin C.

If you want sweet, tender turnips choose smaller root vegetables. Ideally they should be no larger than 3 inches in diameter, with unmarked skins and fresh-looking greens (if they are attached).

Serve with a glass of your favorite wine and a small, fresh spring salad and you'll have an elegant brunch that everyone will enjoy.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Dubliner or white

cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme,

plus more for garnish

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 3/4 to 2 pounds white turnips,

peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup heavy cream

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with some of the melted butter.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cheese, salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon thyme, the rosemary, and nutmeg. Arrange a single layer of the largest turnip slices in a concentric circle in the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Sprinkle some of the flour mixture and some of the crumbled bacon over the turnips. Drizzle with some of the remaining melted butter. Repeat layering turnips, flour mixture, bacon, and melted butter, ending with a layer of turnips. Pour the cream over the turnips.

Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Spray a 9-inch square of aluminum foil with butter-flavored cooking spray and place, buttered-side down, on top of the turnips. Place a heavy 8- or 9-inch cast-iron skillet or pie plate on top and press firmly. Fill the pan with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bottom and sides are golden brown. (Check after 35 minutes, and if not browning, remove the foil and continuing baking until the top is golden brown.)

Remove from the oven. With a spatula, loosen the turnip cake around the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and cut into wedges. Garnish with minced thyme and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

From: The New Irish Table, by Margaret M. Johnson, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, c. 2003.

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