The turnip might be an unusual vegetable to celebrate. But none-the-less celebrate we do at the annual Eastham Turnip Festival on Cape Cod. Held this year from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the Nauset Regional High School, this free, but humble event, creates quite a stir among visitors and locals alike. Who will take home the cash prizes for the best turnip-inspired dishes? The coveted turnip trophies (oh yes, there’s two) yield bragging rights for the winner of the Grand Prize, awarded by a panel of culinary professionals and local legislators, and the People’s Choice Award, that you got it, garners the most votes from the public participants. Past winners include a recipe for Turnip and Shepherd’s Pie, Harvest Turnip Slaw, Turnip Pizza, and Turnip Chips with Curry Dip. The Whalewalk Inn and Spa will once again this year vie for bragging rights with our own unique turnip recipe.
Not familiar with this root vegetable? A mildly sweet flavor describes a young turnip, while older turnips have a potato-like quality. Successfully creating a delightful turnip dish depends on how old the specimen, cooking method, and the versatility of spices and aromatics used to enhance the flavor. Many successful cooks have turned out surprisingly satisfying dishes by experimenting with both eastern and western spices, along with a variety of cooking methods, everything from mashing, roasting, frying and pickling. High in fiber, and a good source of vitamins and minerals, turnips may be an acquired taste for some, but certainly one worth experimenting with.
Which bring us back the the Eastham Turnip Festival. What an opportunity to sample the sweet and savory concoctions brought to the event by local restaurateurs. Already seasoned in the art of preparing good food for discerning palates, chefs from around Cape Cod bring their A game in an attempt to please both the judges panel and the general public.
The Cook-Off is not the only game in town for the Festival, however. The turnip Shuck-Off challenges the storied vegetable peelers lurking among the crowd. Who can pile up the peels the fastest? Good at judging weight? Submit your best guess for the poundage hefted by this year’s Enormous Turnip.
Oh, there be food and entertainment, a fun zone for the kids, turnip games (turnip bowling, turnip hole), and turnip merchandise. Anyone for a turnip ornament for the Christmas tree? But even more importantly, get your Thanksgiving menu together and gather your fixings at the Holiday Market, with over 60 local merchants plying their wares.
So bring your friends and family to this one-of-a-kind event. And book your stay at the Whalewalk Inn and Spa, located right around the corner from the festivities. You’ll be glad you did.
Eastham Turnip Festival
Saturday, November 23, 2019
1:00 -4:00 PM
Nauset Regional High School
Whalewalk Inn and Spa Turnip Festival Recipe 2018
EASTHAM TURNIP EGG CASSEROLE
2 cups shredded Eastham turnip
1 cup shredded potatoes (store bought, defrosted is a good substitute)
3/4 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican mix)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
8 beaten eggs
1 1/2 can evaporated milk (1/2 can = 3/4 cup)
12 shakes of Hot sauce (I used tabasco)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Saute shredded Eastham Turnips with Salt and Pepper in a pan with a little oil for about 7 min. until they are no longer hard in the middle.
2.Add evaporated milk to beaten eggs, and hot sauce, beat until thoroughly mixed.
3. Mix potatoes and turnips together and arrange as a base layer in the bottom of a greased pan, then sprinkle a little more salt and pepper.
4. Next sprinkle cheese and scallions evenly.
5. Pour over the egg mixture, make sure to get into the corners.
6. Optional : A light vegetable like zucchini or red peppers may be added on top for decoration or color.
7. Bake for 45 min. at 350 degrees, turn the pan once at the halfway point to ensure even cooking.
Let cool 5 minutes before cutting.