The larger and older a turnip, the woodier and less flavourful it becomes. For those who have eaten only the geriatric variety, whole baby turnips – what the French call petits navets – are a revelation.
For about 6 people, wash and trim – but do not peel – about 1 kg/ 2 lb of small turnips. Put in a single layer in a heavy saucepan or casserole dish and barely cover with chicken stock or water, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cook briskly until only a few spoonfuls of liquid remain, about 15–20 minutes, then add 60 g/ 2 oz of unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and a grating of nutmeg. Turn down the heat, shake the pan to coat the turnips and continue to cook, shaking from time to time, until they are caramelized to a golden brown. These go particularly well with a rich bird like duck, but are also nice with roast lamb.
Either of the following treatments could also result in conversion – if not turnip addiction.