Hello. Have we met? You may have run into me at a falafel stand. Well, maybe not me, but a member of my tribe. They call us torshi (pickled vegetables) in the Middle East. You can find us in the Balkans and throughout the Mediterranean too. We really get around.
Here I am when I was just a bare-naked turnip. How embarrassing. You can see I needed a bikini wax. Is that why I'm not popular among Brazilians? How come carrots get all the root-vegetable love? Hey Brazil: I'm hot stuff too!
But I can't take all the credit for my sex appeal. A fresh beet is what gives me my pink pulchritude and girlish glow. Vinegar and garlic add to my tantalizing tang and babe-alicious bite.
People love me in a pita with falafel and tahini. They say I cut the grease from the falafel. But with Lentil Breakdown’s No-Feel-Awful Falafel, there is no grease, so you might not really need me. But after you keep me around for a week, I know you'll want me. I'm seductively salty, savory, sour and satisfying. Oooh. You'll want me bad.
Pickled Turnips (recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)
3 cups water
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 pounds turnips, peeled
1 small beet or a few slices from a regular-size beet, peeled and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1. In a saucepan, heat about one-third of the water. Add the salt and bay leaf, stirring until the salt is dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then add the vinegar and the rest of the water.
3. Cut the peeled turnips into batons, about the size of French fries. Put the turnips, beets and garlic slices into a large, clean jar (I needed two jars—see my notes below), then pour the salted brine over them in the jar(s), including the bay leaf.
4. Cover and let sit at room temperature in a relatively cool place for one week. Then they can be refrigerated until ready to serve.
I used two jars for this amount: one pickle jar and another mason jar the size that spaghetti sauce comes in. I added another bay leaf to the second jar.
The pickles will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. They are not only good alongside falafel, you can serve them in a Mediterranean meze platter or any appetizer tray.