Turnips do not always need to be peeled or mashed. In early summer, when tiny turnips with their leaves attached are available, just wash the tender skin and boil the turnips quickly to conserve their peppery taste. Try finishing the turnips in a flavored butter, as in a herb-scented recipe, and serve with duck or guinea fowl, baked ham or lamb.
The pure white variety, or those with their tops flushed with pinky mauve, are an excellent choice to use in a variety of summer stews and casseroles, such as those made with lamb. Large winter turnips are yellowish white, sometimes with flashes of green. They are at their best when no larger than a tennis ball but do need to be peeled. They can be used in soups and stews.
You can cook and puree turnips with plenty of butter and pepper and combine them with potatoes or another root vegetable such as carrots. Alternatively, grate raw turnips and serve them with a dressing for winter salads, or slice large turnips, brush them with oil and grill until they are just tender.
Do not throw out the leaves of young turnips. They can be cooked in the same way as spinach and served as a vegetable in their own right, or incorporated into soup, or shredded and used as a garnish for vegetable dishes and salads.
** Asian Cooking