Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ingredient 12 - Parsnips

Not to sound cliché, but my life seems to be growing increasingly busy.  We are entering a busy time at work and David is entering his final month of graduate school.  Nobody's hair is on fire yet, but I am making a concerted effort to keep myself from filling my plate with way more than I can reasonably finish.  Thus, the blog will feature recipes that are simple, and hopefully relatively quick to prepare, for the next few weeks.

With simplicity in mind, this week I prepared parsnips.  Parsnips are similar in shape and size to carrots, but are are paler in color and sweeter in flavor.  In many dishes, parsnips can be substituted for carrots, turnips, or potatoes.  Parsnips are in season during fall and winter months.  When purchasing, select small to medium parsnips that are firm and blemish free.  Larger parsnips have a woody core that should be removed when cooking.  If kept in a non airtight plastic bag, parsnips can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.

Roasted Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 3 to 4 
1 lb brussels sprouts
1 bag parsnips  My bag had 7. 
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup pecan halves
Sea salt
Black pepper

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Begin by lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil and pre-heating the oven to 425 degrees.  Next, peel the parsnips and slice diagonally, medium thickness.

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To prepare the brussels sprouts, trim any remaining stalks from the end of the sprouts and remove any outer leaves that are brown or wilted.  Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise.  
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Combine the parsnips, sprouts, and olive oil in a medium bowl.  Season liberally with salt and pepper and gently toss to ensure sprouts are evenly coated.

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Spread the sprouts and parsnips on the baking sheet, single layer, and place in the oven for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, remove pan from oven, turn vegetables, sprinkle pecans on sheet, and return to oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.

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Note: I followed Martha Stewart’s suggestion of 450 degrees and nearly 30 minutes of roasting time and had to pick out some over roasted veggies and blackened nuts before plating the dish.  Thinly sliced parsnips yielded blackened disks.
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I really liked this dish and am looking forward to making it again with my suggested modifications.  The pecans take this dish from everyday to special.  Halfway through dinner I drizzled a touch of maple syrup on the veggies, it was a good decision.  Overall Grade: B+.

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