So, I've heard about parsnips and I've read about parsnips but I've never been quite inclined to try them because, well, they don't look very appetising — kinda like a radish which not really my favourite vegetable (unless it's nicely disguised in the steamed-and-then-fried lobak kueh or, further disguised in kueh kak). On its own, I find radish to be quite vile: not much taste to it and a bite that's quite severe even minutes after.
Naturally, I assumed the same of parsnips.
But, after watching many episodes of Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen — Top Chef season one winner Harold's parsnip puree (which he served with prime New York Strip steaks) looked soooo good — I felt compelled to give parsnips a go. Even if it didn't taste good, at least I'd know what it tasted like, right? So, I went shopping.
Now parsnips aren't so easily available here. And, they're costly. An average sized parsnip costs about RM6. I bought two large ones as I wanted to try roasting them as well as pureeing them, Harold style.
The verdict: I love parsnips! they're nothing like radish. Sweet and creamy when roasted, they're now my favourite root vegetable. Top of the list!! I loved the puree but I think my favourite way to eat parsnip is to simple roast them.
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 parsnip, peeled and cubed
1 small shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vegetable stock
thyme, just a bit
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the parsnips, shallots and garlic and saute until the shallots are translucent, about 8 mins (medium heat). Add the cream and enough stock to cover the parsnips and thyme and allow to simmer till the parsnips get soft, about 10 mins. Transfer to a blender/food processor and puree till smooth.
WowWee! The puree was delicious. Better than mashed potatoes — a little sweeter and less starchy. One tip: adjust the stock; 1/4 cup may be too much if your parsnip is tiny in which case your puree may be a little too thin.
Next up: roasting
1 medium parsnip, cut to look like fried or wedges, as you please
11/2-2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
pinch of salt
chopped parsley (optional)
Heat the oven to 200C.
Place the butter in a roasting pan (a small one) and put it in the oven.
Toss the parsnips in the oil and salt. When the butter is melted and is bubbling, remove pan and add the parsnips.
Bake for about 15-20 mins. Remove, turn the parsnips over and roast for another 15 mins or until golden brown (but still soft). Remove and toss in chopped parsley.
Roasted parsnips? Hell, yeah. Way better than potatoes fries, and I suspect healthier too. I tried another batch (yes, I went out and bought more parsnip the day after) with a little horseradish and they were super.