At the farmers market on Saturday, I noticed several vendors with small Japanese turnips. We used to get these in our CSA box in California, where they were labeled Tokyo turnips. These tender little vegetables are quite different from the purple top turnips you see in fall and winter. They are mild enough to eat raw, a little like the enormous Gilfeather turnips, but with a smoother texture. Try them with their very nutritious greens in this dish.
1 cup pearl barley
3 cups water
3 medium turnips and greens
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¾ cup raisins
¾ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Place the barley and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 30 minutes.
While the barley is cooking, peel the turnips and cut into matchsticks. Wash, stem, and coarsely chop the turnip greens.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the turnips (not the greens) and sauté until just tender, about 2-4 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar and the raisins and stir for a minute or so. Add the greens (you may have to do this in batches) and cook until they are wilted and most of the vinegar has evaporated. Stir in the salt, pepper, and toasted walnuts.
Combine the turnips mixture with the barley and feta. Serve hot.
Serves about 4.