Recipe of the Month

(Pickled Turnips)

One of Friuli’s most typical side dishes, brovada is especially popular in the central plains around Udine, although for many modern-day Friulians, it is an acquired taste. Following an ancient Roman recipe dating as far back as the 3rd century AD, turnips are marinated for at least one month in grape “marc” (the solid matter that remains after grapes are pressed, containing skin, seeds, pulp, and stems). In Carnia, where the climate is not conducive to growing grapes, the residue from distilling apples or pears may be used instead.

Traditionally, the turnips are fermented whole, then sliced using a special grater; in this recipe, they are sliced beforehand to hasten the process. This shortcut version also marinates the turnips for just a few days in a mixture of wine and vinegar; for a more acidic flavor, you may increase the marinating time to several weeks or even a month. Brovada may be eaten raw, boiled, or sautéed, as shown here, and is often served with musetto, a mildly spiced sausage made from pig’s snout.

1 pound turnips, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch julienne strips
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
• • •
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In advance, combine the turnips, red wine, and vinegar in a medium bowl, making sure that the turnips are completely submerged in the liquid. Refrigerate for 48 hours; drain.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the drained turnips, beef broth, parsley, sage, and black pepper; cook until the turnips are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt.

Serves 4 to 6.