Fried Tuna-Turnip Cakes and Spaghetti Sides

White at the bottom and a light to deep purple band on the top, these turnips (peak season from October to March each year) are most often snubbed by buyers at the produce section.   Me, included.   When hubby picked up 3 turnips from our last visit to “Caputo” because he likes eating them, I had to be honest with him I have zero knowledge about turnips.  He grinned, “I eat ’em raw or include in salads”.  Really.   But 3 days passed, I still see those sad turnips untouched and already losing a bit of their smooth waxy skin.  So I had to give these neglected turnips some “rough justice” (favorite line from my favorite TV judge, Judge Millian).  But I had to do a bit of “research” first to make sure my turnips dish would be truly delish-iousness.

Turnips 101

1.  Small turnips have sweeter and tender flavor.

2.  To clean, simply scrub with a vegetable brush under running water and peel with vegetable peeler.

3.  Raw turnips will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator crisper.

4.   Boil turnips with a potato in the water to counter the bitter flavor in the turnips.

5.    Blanch turnips first before freezing them.  Blanch for 3 minutes in boiling water and drop them into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking.    You can freeze them for up to 9 months.

And how did I use those lonely turnips?  Recipe follows.

Fried Tuna-Turnip Cakes
You have got to try this for a meatless meal.

1 turnip, pared and sliced in 1/2″ slices
2 cans (5 oz each) Tuna in Water, drained well
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
Enough oil for frying

Cook turnip slices in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain well; transfer to a mixing bowl  and mash with a fork.  Stir in tuna, flour, egg and black pepper.  Mix well with a fork.  Using an ice cream scooper, make tuna-turnip cakes and place in heated oil.  Flatten slightly with spoon or back of ice cream scooper.  Fry until golden in both sides.  Transfer to paper towel-lined platter.  Serve with tartar or cocktail sauce.

Spaghetti Sides
This is my go-to side dish to pair with my turnip-tuna cakes.

1 package (16 oz) spaghetti, cooked al dente, drained
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large skillet or wok, combine cream cheese, canned soups, butter/margarine, milk and parmesan cheese.  Cook until sauce boils; lower heat. Stir in cooked spaghetti and toss well to coat.   Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle more grated parmesan cheese.



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