Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Uses of Parsnips

What I do know about them: We find them freshly harvested here at the markets starting in January. Their sweetness develops when they're cooked, and they are especially sweet when harvested after the first frost. The older a parsnip is, the more "woody" it's going to be, so beware of large parsnips. Choose parsnips as you would carrots, they should be crisp and firm. They're sweet. They're sold under the name Panais here in France.

Three experiments worth trying: Parsnip cake, like carrot cake. Confit de Panais to serve with liver pate. Parsnips grated into fruit salad.

Parsnip salad:
Grated parsnips, mayonnaise, spice mix maison, and extra fresh ground black pepper.

Parsnip Cake (one layer, can be doubled):

1 cup cake flour (+2T. type 55 if you are in France)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
90ml duck fat, at room temp
90 grams granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded parsnips

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, duck fat, sugars, and milk until well blended. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the parsnips. Put into a one layer pan or small loaf pan and bake at 175C/300F for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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