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Root Source: Parsnip

parsnip

what you should know

Named for an ancient two-pronged dibble (a what?) the parsnip is the lowliest of the lowlies (lowlier even than the beet).

 
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.

 

parbrewed The parsnip needs near-frost temperatures to convert its starches into sugar. Some take advantage of the vegetable's starchiness to make what's supposedly a pretty good country wine.

 

chez panisse

what you need

 

No one can elevate the lowly members of the plant world like Alice Waters does in her classic Chez Panisse Vegetables.

 

Stocking stuffer: It takes a deft peeler to skin the long, curvy contours of a parsnip. We attack our parsnips with either a Good Grips swivel or Y from OXO.

 

 

orange parsnip puree - cookthik

 

 

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.

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