by David Tanis
from Fine Cooking #102, p. 66-71
A parsnip looks like an overgrown white carrot, but that’s where the similarity ends. Though the two are cousins, a parsnip’s flavor is far more complex. Sweetness, a perfumed nuttiness, a touch of chestnut, and a hint of winter squash, combined with a delicate starchy texture—these are the things that make the humble, often neglected parsnip a root vegetable worth rediscovering.
Sweet and earthy, with a touch of spice, the parsnip may well be winter’s most exciting root vegetable. Try it in one of these six tasty dishes—dessert included:
|Parsnip Buttermilk Pie||Parsnip, Potato, and Scallion Pancakes|
|Parsnip and Leek Soup with Cumin and Mustard Seeds||Mashed Parsnips with Lemon and Herbs|
|Parsnip Risotto with Pancetta and Sage|
|Parsnip and Carrot Pickles with Chiles|
|Shop & Store|
While there are several varieties of parsnips, most markets don’t usually indicate which they’re selling, mainly because the differences in flavor, texture, and appearance are minimal. Your best bet is to choose what looks freshest. Here are some tips:
Shop: Parsnips should be firm and of uniform color; blemishes can be a sign of decay. Opt for medium parsnips, as very large ones can be woody and bitter.
Store: Wrap unwashed parsnips in paper towels or newspaper and store them in a loosely closed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Photos: Scott Phillips