kitchen firsts: roasted parsnips
Where has the week gone? I think the first week back at school must have thrown me a bit more than I expected, because I seem to have totally derailed on my oh-so-well-intentioned resolutions. It is only week 2 of my kitchen firsts series and I’m already dangerously close to not getting my post of the week in on time! In reality, I had no problem getting this week’s kitchen first cooked on time (I’ve actually had trouble stopping myself from buying and cooking all kinds of new ingredients), it’s just the blogging part that has held me up. I’m sitting on a huge backlog of tested, photographed, but un-blogged recipes, so it seems like there’s a mountain of posting to catch up on. All in good time I suppose; but to-blog list aside, I really must tell you about this week’s adventure: parsnips!
I think I must have had a parsnip before this week; somewhere in some soup, or roasted veggie medley, or something of the sort. But I had never really had a parsnip prepared just on its own, so you could really taste it, so I figured it was high time to make some, while it’s still root vegetable season.
This recipe came from Sunset magazine, and I thought the flavors were really great. I do have one beef with the Sunset people for it though, and that is that they made no mention of the fact that parsnips often have an extremely tough, woody core. I mean, when we went to cut one of these supposedly tender parsnips with a fork, it was like trying to cut rubber. A quick googling of parsnips afterwards told me that step one in cooking parsnips should ALWAYS be cut out the woody core. So, lesson learned! And the fact that we still gnawed the delicious tender parts of the snips right off the woody cores meant something was right with the rest of the cooking. If you’ve never had a parsnip before (or never had one in a way that you could actually taste it), I think you will find them quite pleasant, sans core– it’s really quite like a carrot, although perhaps a bit starchier like a potato. All in all, a very tasty vegetable, and I hear they are low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of Vitamin C! Plus, the roasting method makes them very low maintenance in the kitchen, so it’s an easy side to throw together– and since they roast at 350, they can be cooked alongside a lot of other dishes that might otherwise be burned at roasting temperatures. Give it a try!
Adapted from Sunset Magazine, January 2010
Serves 2, but can be easily stretched by upping the amount of parsnips
2-4 parsnips (the shorter and stubbier they are, the better they are supposed to taste)
1/4 onion, thickly sliced
6 cloves of garlic, skin-on
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of dried thyme, or a couple sprigs of fresh
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it heats up, prepare your parsnips by peeling them, halving them, and removing the woody cores with a paring knife (you could also cut them into smaller matchsticky pieces if you wanted to cut the roasting time down, but I thought they looked sort of elegant sliced long). Slice your onion, and separate your cloves of garlic.
In a pan large enough to fit your parsnips, add 2 T of water, then lay the parsnips in it. Cover tightly with foil, and oven-steam them for about 20-25 minutes (you could also steam them on the stove and then roast, but that would dirty another pan!). Remove from the oven, take off the foil, and toss in the sliced onions and cloves of garlic. Give it a sprinkling of thyme, then drizzle with olive oil and stir it around to coat. Toss it back in the oven to roast for about 40 more minutes, or until they are tender and golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!