Root Source: Parsnip
what you should know
shire food Because of its longtime association with the traditional Sunday Roast, the parsnip has a reputation for stodginess. It looks like an anemic carrot. (One specimen was recently named the Ugliest Vegetable in the UK.)
And while the two hardy root vegetables share a certain sweetness, the parsnip has a more complex tangle of flavors. It's almost minty, with a twinkling Christmas spice going on -- the smell of hobbitous comfort.
the bridge root We love how the parsnip toes the line between starch and salad vegetable. You can roast or mash a parsnip like you would a potato. Or you can grate or shave a raw parsnip into a salad.
what you need
No one can elevate the lowly members of the plant world like Alice Waters does in her classic Chez Panisse Vegetables.
what you do
This parsnip, parsley and lemon salad is a winter variation on the classic Italian salad of shaved raw fennel. The tart lemon brightens the earthy flavors of the thinly sliced parsnips, and the parsley brings out the spice.
It sounds boring, but a roasted parsnip, turnip and potato salad will give you respect for humble roots.
Before the potato came to Europe, the parsnip was the go-to starch for accompanying rich, braised meats. A little orange makes this parsnip purée a delicious partner to duck or pork.
The subtle complexities of the parsnip make it a great base for a piece of fish. We played around with some Southeast Asian flavors to come up with tasty pan-roasted monkfish with coconut mashed parsnips.