I love gratins, as you can see in my Gratin Collection! So, I knew I had to make a Hakurei turnip gratin as soon as this year’s crop showed up at the farmer’s market. Hakurei turnips (and their cousins, the red Hidabeni turnip), are wonderful, mild turnips great in salads, pickled, and certainly in gratins. This simple turnip gratin makes the most of fresh, seasonal produce and is indeed simple to make.
I was going to make an all white turnip gratin, since those are the ones I usually see at the market. But this year I came across the red Hidabeni variety, and I thought why not? So I picked up a bunch of each and set about making some gratin.
Something that is so nice about young turnips like these is that they don’t even need to be peeled. Just give them a scrub and you’re good to go. I think the contrast of the red skins against all the white in the dish is very pretty.
And also tasty. 🙂
Though I’m showing the recipe using these beautiful, local turnips, the gratin would still be tasty with any mild, young turnip which is available to you.
Once I decided on the turnips I was using, it was time to think about any other vegetables I could add to the gratin.
I considered carrots, but I didn’t want this recipe to be too sweet. (Turnips and carrots together are an idea for another day.) Then I thought about potatoes – since they are great in gratins always – but I was going for a lighter style of gratin. And then it came to me. Onions!
A thin layer of white onions right in the middle of the gratin was exactly what I wanted. Not too sweet. Not too starchy. Just right.
The last component was the dairy.
I tried the gratin both with and without cream, and highly preferred the cream. It made a lovely sauce which complemented the turnips. So, yes to the cream! As for the cheese, I do love gruyere in a gratin, and adding it at the last moment turned out to be perfect. You won’t get that browned top, but the gruyere stays nice and gooey since it’s only heated briefly.
All in all, this was a gratin which I happily ate up as soon as I put the camera down. Yum!
If you try my recipe for Turnip Gratin, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Simple Turnip Gratin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb mild young turnips, cut into 2 mm slices
- 1/2 small white onion, cut into 2 mm slices
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz gruyere, grated
- 1 oz parmesan cheese, finely shredded
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Pour a little olive oil into the bottom of your gratin dish and spread it around so that it coats the bottom.
- Arrange half of the turnip slices into a layer then top with the onion slices, 1 tablespoon of the thyme, and a little more olive oil. Then, layer on the other half of the turnip slices. Top with the rest of the thyme and the remaining olive oil.
- Cover the gratin dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the turnips are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Take the gratin out of the oven, pour the heavy cream over, and sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top. Return the gratin to the oven and bake just until the the cheese melts, 1-2 minutes, then serve.
- Turnips: I used a mix of Japanese red turnips (Hidabeni) and Japanese white turnips (Hakurei) in my gratin. Any mild, young turnip will work.
- Mandoline: To slice the turnips and the onion, I used my GSD Mandoline. I just snapped in my 2 mm blade and finished in moments.
- Amount of Cream: The gratin will be a little saucy from the cream. If you want a drier gratin, reduce or omit the cream.
- Be Careful with the Cheese: Don't leave the gratin in the oven too long with the cheese on top. Gruyere will seize at high temperatures. Once it starts to look melted, take it out!