Parsnip. It’s a funny word, Parsnip. Sure we have seen them sitting on the produce shelf posing as a “white carrot” daring us to do something with them. For the longest time I would avoid looking at them with their mocking white glare. Then one day while waitressing the chef stated the vegetables for the night were glazed carrots and parsnips. I laughed out loud and replied “who would eat a parsnip” and luckily for me he replied, “now you will”. And so began my friendship with that funny vegetable.
Parsnips are similar to carrots in shape and slightly in flavor but are sweeter and give off more starch when cooked. They boast great amounts of potassium as well as many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You can eat them raw but they are so good cooked in many different ways. You can bake, roast, sauté, fry, boil and steam them. You can throw them into your roasts (which is how I first introduced them in my family) as they thicken your gravy and aid in giving it a nice rich flavor. If sliced thickly, they resemble a potato which is how I tricked my family into trying them. Another way to introduce them gently to those, who like me are not very intrigued by the funny looking white things, is by adding them into a homemade soup. Chop them small, as you would your carrots, and cook them in the broth along with the other soup vegetables. The benefits and contrast of color make a nice change.
The other night my 11 year old asked for some glazed parsnips so I sliced them along with carrots and snowpeas, steamed them in water until soft and tossed them with a little garlic flavored grapeseed oil, salt and pepper in a sauté pan and browned/glazed them.
A few nights later we had a pork roast and I sliced them and added them with some carrots and onions.
So the next time you see that white glare in the store, stare it down, grab a pack and give them a try!!