Monday, February 22, 2010

ever had parsnips?

We had dinner with Bill and Catherine a week ago Sunday, and she made us a traditional British Sunday dinner consisting of roast leg of lamb with mint sauce, brussel sprouts with a cream sauce, and three kinds of roasted root vegetables, including parsnips. I am not proud to say that I did not even try the brussel sprouts, having a strong aversion to them since I was a child. (I barfed them back out onto my plate the first time I was forced to eat them. Boy, did that make my parents mad!) Anyway.

I had never eaten parsnips before, and they were a revelation. They had carmelized as they roasted, and they were creamy and sweet and delicious. They were my favorite part of the dinner, in fact. Catherine sent the rest of the uncooked parsnips home with us, and I roasted them for the two of us the next day. Still delicious. Right on the edge of tasting like a yucky cooked carrot, but somehow managing to avoid it. I can't wait to explore all the possibilites of the humble parsnip.

Eating cooked vegetables is still a risky business for me. Growing up, the only cooked vegetables we ever ate came from a Birdseye box in the freezer. They had no texture and no flavor, and they generally smelled terrible. At least, that's how I remember it. I used to only like cooked corn, and for many years after I left home, that was the only cooked vegetable I would eat. Gradually, I have learned that buying fresh vegetables and cooking them yields unexpected flavor and texture. Thanks, Catherine, for adding another tasty vegetable to my growing list.


Ben said...

As you know, cooked vegetables were also a problem for me when I was growing up. Depending on the level of surveillance, I would either a) quickly scrape my plate clean into the trash after dinner, b) hide them under the edge of my plate and dispose of them surreptitiously later, c) hide them by dropping them by hand or mouth into my milk, or d) swallowing each morsel with a big gulp of milk, like taking medicine.

The parsnips at Bill & Catherine's were really good, and I'm glad you've added them to your repertoire. I really like the flavor a lot, and I'm actually flexible about the texture, although tough would probably be bad. A great discovery!

BTW- the brussel sprouts were good too! ;-)

anne mancine said...

You can eat all the brussel sprouts. Go ahead.

Amanda said...

I like this recipe for roasted parsnips:

they're also good if you make root vegetable chips (baked, of course ;)).

anne mancine said...

That recipe sounds fantastic, Amanda! That is definitely how I will prepare them the next time. Thanks!

Bryan said...

Interesting, I'll have to give them a try. That recipe Amanda linked to sounds good.

A friend gave me an idea for brussels sprouts that is the only way I'll eat them. You drizzle them with olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with garlic powder/salt and whatever other spices. Place on a "Pammed" baking sheet and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. The syrup gives it a bit of a crispy shell and is an interesting mix with the other flavors (I usually did garlic salt and onion powder I think). My friend used fresh brussels sprouts and cut the "base" off them and sliced them in half, but I used the frozen kind which are smaller, and just left them whole.

anne mancine said...

Thanks for the brussel sprout recipe, Bryan. I'm still not eating 'em. ;)

However, I have made your mom's potato soup recipe - a couple of times, actually - and we really like it! The second time I made it, I left out the carrots (texture problems) but added celery, which I sauteed with the onions. I found that using my homemade stock instead of canned broth much improved the flavor, as well. Thanks again. That recipe is definitely a keeper.

Bryan said...

Glad you like it! I usually make my broth with Wyler's bouillon granules + hot water.

I bought a bundle of parsnips at Giant Eagle yesterday, so we'll see how that goes. How were they prepared? Just boiled? Butter & salt?

I have enough for two servings, so I think I'll try that parmesan recipe too.

anne mancine said...

Bryan - They were roasted. Peel the parsnips and cut the thicker ends in half. All the pieces should be roughly the same thickness. Be sure to use a baking dish or cooking sheet large enough so that you can lay the parsnips out flat. If you are using a cookie sheet, first put all the parsnip pieces in a large bowl, liberally sprinkle with EVOO (I've always wanted to say that!) and salt and pepper. If you are using a baking dish, just coat the pieces in there, then make sure to lay them all flat. I think your baking time/temperature can be somewhat flexible if you have something else in the oven already, but I would think ideally you would want to roast them at 350for at least a half hour. The parsnips are done when they are fork tender and have started to carmelize on the bottom. You shouldn't have to add anything else. Serve and enjoy.