Sweet, hearty and versatile, parsnips pack a healthy punch too, because they boost immune function and help the body fight inflammation. What better way to feed your appetite on a chilly autumn day? “I love parsnips because they remind me of my favourite wine, Château Margaux: sweet perfume with a touch of earthiness,” says Executive Chef Douglas Anderson of Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC. Chef Anderson grows his own parsnips (which were always in his mom’s garden, both in Scotland and later in the United States) and also picks them up at farmer’s markets and the supermarket. “Buying parsnips with the top on is a good indicator of quality, but they are often sold top off,” he notes, adding that you should choose parsnips that are firm and crisp.
“I think parsnips are fun to serve at dinner—they are simple and interesting, but many people do not cook them at home,” he says. “Soups and purees are so easy, and parsnips pair very well with meat and shellfish. My mother used to coarsely dice them with potatoes, carrots and onions and roast them with a beef roast. The parsnips would have toasty brown edges with a soft centre… yum!”
Find more flavourful root vegetable recipes on Taste, like beer-braised Angus beef cheeks with mashed potatoes from Prague and family-friendly beetroot gnocchi from Budapest. –Bonnie Schiedel
Photos Courtesy Daniel Swartz / REVAMP.com