Chicks dig parsnips

All of my life, I’ve been obsessed with two things; having a better understanding of the mind of women, and eating every vegetable under the sun (I’m still working very diligently on both )  I admit, its a strange combination, but blame it on my growing up in a family of mostly women (and ladies men) who all grew up farming.  So my love for either is based purely on my genetic disposition (don’t judge me).  In my journey I’ve made a connection between women and vegetables that would make most people’s head spin, and perhaps I’d get a side ward glance or two. Truth is, women and vegetables, can be both very sweet, complex, beautiful, firm, colorful, full of wisdom, and very delicate. You can benefit from treating a vegetable the same way you do a woman (trust me on this one).  I’ve also learned (by chance) that “chicks” (please excuse the expression) rule the world, real talk, and just as you would do yourself justice on a deserted island (or your apartment during a New York winter) to be surrounded by, or in the company of only women (or a woman), the same is true of vegetables. Yes, you can live solely on vegetables and water.   The similarities go on and on.  But I digress.  This blog post is supposed to be about Parsnips.

Parsnips, the off white looking carrot is chock  full of the sweetness that is said to be the essence that little girls are made of  (sugar, spice & everything nice).  They (parsnips) can be steamed, and mashed with butter similar to the way you treat a potato.  You can also slice, saute, roast or enjoy the shavings in a raw salad preparation (talk about versatility).  Perhaps this “herby” sweet, and savory flavored parsnips sweet, is the stuff that dreams are made of, and  for the purpose of this blog I must say, chicks dig parsnips.  And for good reason. parsnips taste like a walk on the wild side of the garden. They are what Willy Wonka would’ve genetically modified in his laboratory, and then had the Umpa lumpas plant them with haste (insert the sound of his whistle here) The most magical thing about them happens to be how and when they develop their awe inspiring flavor, after a mean frost.  When most vegetables cant handle the harsh cold, they not only handle it, but become better because of it. This is when the phrase ” what wont kill you will make you stronger” loses its cliche status and becomes a cold (pardon the pun)  hard fact. They are also nutritional powerhouses, containing 37 % of the DV of vitamin K , 22% of the DV of folate, 38% of vitamin C, 1.6 grams of protein, and 24 grams of carbohydrates all in one 1 cup serving. Carbohydrates are the bodies premier choice of energy, so all hail the mighty parsnip for being such a great source.  In addition to those feel good facts, parsnips are 6.5 grams of fiber (or 26% of the DV) which helps to lower the bodies LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. So in short, parsnips are definitely worth their weight in gold.  Put parsnips to the test with this awesome recipe from the legendary Alice Waters, and take a wild side with the white root vegetable that is as versatile as it is delicious.

 

Cheers,

 

Chef Will Hall

 

 

 

 

Alice Waters’s Rutabaga and Parsnip Gratin

 

4 servings

 

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and pour in:

3 tablespoons olive oil or

11/2 tablespoons olive oil and

11/2 tablespoons butter

When hot, add:

1 onion, sliced thin

Cook until the onion is soft, about 12 minutes, and add:

1 tablespoon marjoram leaves

Salt

Fresh-ground black pepper

A pinch of Marash pepper (optional)

Spoon the onion mixture into the bottom of a 5-inch baking or gratin dish.

Peel and slice thin:

1 medium rutabaga (about ½ pound)

2 small parsnips (about ½ pound)

A mandoline slicer makes this job easier. I like to make the slices about 1/8 inch thick. Cook the rutabaga slices first and then the parsnips in salted boiling water until just tender, no more than 2 minutes. Drain and when the slices are cool, layer them into the baking dish, alternating rows of overlapping slices of each vegetable. When all the slices are in, sprinkle with:

Salt

A drizzle of olive oil

Cover the gratin with a layer of parchment paper and place in the hot oven. Cook for 15 minutes, remove the paper, and cook for another 10.

 

Variations

• Other vegetables, such as celery root, parsley root, kohlrabi, potatoes, or turnips, may be used along with (or in place of) the rutabagas and parsnips.

• Other herbs and spices can be used instead of marjoram. Try thyme or savory or a mix of ginger, nigella seed, and cilantro. Cardamom is very nice with the sweet flavors of the vegetables.

References:

Cox, C. (2011, 02 23). Parsnip nutrition information. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/389317-parsnip-nutrition-information/

Fruits & veggies more matters . (2013). Retrieved from http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/parsnips

Thompson, C. (2011, 10 04). Seven healthy facts about parsnips. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/seven-healthy-facts-about-parsnips

Waters, A. (2013, 11 15). Alice waters’s rutabaga and parsnip gratin . Retrieved from http://www.wnyc.org/story/recipe-alice-waterss-rutabaga-and-parsnip-gratin/

Watkins, J. (2010, 02 17). parsnips image. Retrieved from chileylimon.wordpress.com/tag/parsnips/

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