Also known as parsnip, parsnipSativa parsnip) is a humble root vegetable that once constituted a valuable source of energy for the poorest population of half of Europe, especially in the cold months and before the potato. Forgotten and despised, little used in our country, its consumption is recovering and it is a good time to claim it in the kitchen.
It is precisely in winter when this carrot premium looks most proud in the markets; it is in full season, it is economical, nutritious and very tasty. Despite its similarity to the orange vegetable, parsnip has a different flavor, also sweet and earthy, but with a very characteristic aroma, aniseed and very comforting.
VEGETABLE TIAN, the best way to eat vegetables in an original way
Characteristics and properties
In its appearance, it undoubtedly reminds us of the carrot for its elongated shape and an outer skin with a similar texture, if anything rougher and enough, with more irregularities. Parsnips, especially the larger specimens, usually exhibit a thicker top end and rounded, tapering at the other end, while carrots tend to be more uniform.
Without a doubt, the great visual characteristic of this root is its color, or lack of it. Without being purely white to the outside, rather with a cream or ivory tone, languishes a bit when compared to other underground winter vegetables, such as the carrot itself in its different colors, or kohlrabi. When cut, it does show a much purer white color inside, concentrating more on the central trunk.
As for its properties, parsnip is a valuable vegetable for its nutritional contribution, it is energetic but without reaching the calories of the potato, thanks to its remarkable content of natural sugars, but it is also a source of fiber, minerals and vitamins. It stands out particularly for its contribution of potassium and vitamin C.
It is a very satiating vegetable due to its fiber content, it also contains pectin and usually absorbs a large amount of liquid when cooked in water or with another liquid, so it is perfect to eat lighter in these months, if it is prepared with healthy techniques, replacing potatoes or carbohydrates.
How to use it in the kitchen?
The parsnip you have to wash it welln to remove all possible remains of soil, such as any tuber. The leaves, if you can buy them, can be cooked or used as a raw dressing, as if it were a fresh herb.
The skin is edible but it is somewhat ugly and hard, so the most common is peel it lightly, using a vegetable peeler to preserve its meat to the maximum. Actually it admits the same preparations as carrots or other root vegetables: we can cook it, steam it, fry it, sauté it, turn it into a puree or cream, or roast it in the oven.
Thanks to its natural sugars and the somewhat earthy hardness of its interior, it is perfect for cooking and incorporating into creams and sauces, providing texture and body, while adding a very aromatic delicate flavor. It is delicious roasted, like all vegetables, when their sugars are caramelized, concentrating their flavor to the maximum and providing a crunchy texture on the outside, and creamy on the inside.
If we want to try it raw, it is recommended grate it fine or cut it into thin slices, like carpaccio, peeling it well beforehand. Its aniseed and “country” flavor combines wonderfully with grilled meat and fish, as well as similar vegetables, and it is always a good idea to combine it with potatoes.
To balance its sweet taste, thank you very much small contrasts, adding some acid such as vinegar, lemon juice or zest, some fresh fruit or even a point of spice. Although the best seasonings are the classic mountain herbs (thyme, rosemary, caraway, dill, oregano …), it is also perfect for lovers of more exotic spices, such as curry mixes.
Seasonal parsnip recipes
If you have never tried parsnip beyond adding it to soups or broths, go ahead and cook it this winter by trying different dishes like the ones we propose below.
Glasses of parsnip and apple cream with kikos and foie
Wash the parsnips and carrot well, cut the end with the stem and peel lightly, only if they were somewhat ugly on the outside; the skin is perfectly edible. Chop the carrot finely with the chives.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the chives with the carrot and a pinch of salt, until they turn color. Add the parsnip, stir well and add the herbs. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes while we peel and chop the apple, without the core.
Add the apple, season and cover with the broth. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and cook until the vegetables are very tender. Blend until you have a fine cream, adding more or less broth, to taste, and strain through the Chinese if desired.
Check the salt content, taking into account that the toppings will already be salty. Spread into glasses and top with some kikos crushed in the mortar, some foie flakes (optional) and chopped fresh chives.
Garnish of roasted Provencal vegetables
- Ingredients. 4 kohlrabi, 2 turnips, 2 parsnips, 4 carrots, 2 potatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon old-fashioned mustard, juice of 1/2 lemon, white wine, 2 tablespoons Provencal herb mix, 1 / 2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, salt.
- Elaboration. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and grease a dish or tray. Wash and dry all vegetables well. Cut off the ends and peel lightly with a vegetable peeler. Cut the carrots and parsnips, if they are large, into two pieces to make them more or less the same length. Cut all the vegetables into sticks. Mix the olive oil with the mustard, lemon, spices and a splash of white wine in a bowl. Add the vegetables and stir so that they are well impregnated. Distribute on the tray and season to taste. Bake about 15 minutes. Stir well and return to the oven, lowering the temperature to 180ºC. Bake 15-20 more minutes.
Parsnip cream with tomato jam and crunchy onion
- Ingredients. 500 g of parsnip, 100 ml of liquid cooking cream, tomato jam to taste, crispy fried onion to taste, thyme sprouts.
- Elaboration. Wash and peel the parsnips. Cook for 12 minutes in boiling water, strain and reserve the liquid. Blend with a manual masher, transfer to a container, add half a glass of the cooking water and 100 ml of liquid cream. Work the cream with the rods, to obtain a very creamy texture, correct the salt. Finally, serve with a curved line with a tablespoon of the tomato jam and add a little crispy fried onion and a few sprouts of thyme.
Roasted sea bass with “root” vegetables in cider
- Ingredients for 4 people.1 large sea bass or 4 servings, 2 medium potatoes, 2 carrots, 1 large turnip, 1-2 parsnips, 1 kohlrabi, 1 lemon, 400 ml cider, thyme, rosemary, ground cumin, granulated garlic, parsley, black pepper , salt and extra virgin olive oil.
- Elaboration. Preheat the oven to 200º C. Wash and peel all the vegetables. Cut the potatoes into wedges and the rest into sticks or cubes. Grease a baking dish and add the potatoes and carrots. Cover with 1 glass of water and 1 glass of cider, season and add thyme and rosemary. Bake 15 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, half a glass of cider, granulated garlic and cumin, mixing well. Return to the oven for 20-25 more minutes, making sure it does not dry out. Season the cleaned fish with pepper, parsley and a little more cumin, add lemon juice and add it to the source. Add the rest of the cider and bake for a few minutes, until the sea bass is just right.
Roasted parsnip with barley
- Ingredients. Pearl barley (peeled) cooked al dente, 3 medium parsnips, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, granulated garlic, ground cumin, thyme, salt and black pepper, poppy or sesame seeds.
- Elaboration. Cook the barley following the instructions on the package. Normally it is convenient to rinse it well and cook it in 3 parts of water for 1 of cereal. Drain and rinse to refresh. Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Wash and lightly peel the parsnips. Cut into small cubes, roughly the same size. Mix with the olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and spices to taste. Layer on a cookie sheet and bake until tender and lightly toasted. Serve the parsnip with the barley, which we can lightly sauté in a pan with a pinch of olive oil. Season to taste and add a little seeds.
Photos | iStock – Richard Noth – Pixabay
Directly to the Palate | December is the month of broccoli and these nine recipes to enjoy its best moment will help you take advantage of it
Directly to the Palate | 37 recipes, sweet and salty, to take advantage of the fact that the lemon is in the best moment of its season