Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Roasted parsnips

I don't think I had ever consciously eaten a parsnip before making these, but after hearing my mother and grandmother rave about them, I decided I had to try some myself and now I'm wondering why you (or at least I) hear so little about them and see them so rarely at restaurants - they're amazing!

Really, you barely need to do anything to them, and you get this delicious sweet, starchy, nutty cross between a carrot and a potato, but even better. And as a bonus, they're in season when almost every other good vegetable is out of season! So if you, like me, have never eaten a parsnip before, then I advise you to go out as soon as possible and buy a few! Though there are some more elaborate parsnip recipes out there, these were so good simply roasted that I don't know if I'll ever get around to trying out any other way of preparing them!

Parsnips (I'd say 1 per person, but it depends on how many other dishes you'll be having)
Olive oil or butter

Preheat the oven to about 375º F/190º C. Peel the parsnips and chop them into pieces of roughly equal size. If the parsnips are more mature, they will likely have a woody core in the center, which you will need to discard.

Lightly coat a baking sheet in olive oil/butter. To coat the baking sheet with olive oil, I pour the olive oil into a little bowl and use a pastry brush to spread it over the baking sheet. This saves me from using too much olive oil, and it comes in handy for the next part.

Spread the pieces of parsnip out on the baking sheet. Mix the olive oil/butter (if you are using butter you will need to melt it first) with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Using a pastry brush, coat the parsnip pieces with the olive oil mixture on both sides.

Once the oven is preheated, put in the parsnip and let bake roughly half an hour, checking to make sure the pieces don't burn. After about 15 minutes, take the baking sheet out of the oven, turn the parsnip pieces over with some tongs, and return the parsnip to the oven to finish baking.

Serve nice amd warm! I served the parsnip here with some red kuri squash mixed with walnuts and dried fruit that I had left over from another day.

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