Christine McFadden Cookery and Food Writing
Christine McFadden with students
A Taste of Rabbit
Alternative Pancakes
Beyond Carrot Cake
Bountiful Blackberries
Celebrating Celery
Cherries are the Only Fruit
Cooking With
What You’ve Got
Do I Dare to Eat a Peach?
Drupe Fruit
Feel the Fear and
Cook it Anyway
Glorious Globes
Glorious Greens
Golden Orbs
Good Eggs
Heavenly Herbs
King Cauliflower
More Than Marmalade
Of Cabbages and Kings
Partridges and Pears
Pumpkins and Winter Squash
Rhubarb Renaissance
Roasting Chestnuts
Ruffian Roots: Celeriac
Sicilian Utopia
Smashing Pumpkins
Strawberry Fare
The Meat of Kings
The Not-So-Humble Parsnip
Time for Pie
Time to Talk About Eggs
Watercress – a culinary hero
We Won't Go Until
We Get Some
Parsnips Vegetable cookery classes South West

Christine's blog

This is the place to enjoy Christine's food-related musings – from seasonal food and food producers to cooking tools, food markets and gastro-travel. You'll also find some must-try recipes and invaluable tips and techniques.

The Not-So-Humble Parsnip

It may be the time of year, but there are words and phrases that are putting me on edge. Along with 'roaring fire' beloved of pub reviewers, and 'comforting' in relation to cold weather recipes, 'humble' is rant-worthy in my book. Invariably used to describe root vegetables, particularly parsnips, it's been part of the food writer's lexicon for far too long. Yes – parsnips are commonplace rather than exotic, understated maybe, but humble they are not.

Parsnips are a cook's best friend, lending themselves to all kinds of dishes – soups, gratins, soufflés and salads, for example. They're especially good roasted – the sugars caramelise beautifully, transforming the ivory root into beautiful golden batons. Cut them into even-sized pieces, or leave whole if small. Roast them on their own, or with carrots for contrasting colour, or
add them to roast potatoes after about 15 minutes, once the potatoes have
got going.

Also worth trying are Parsnip Wisps – they add contrasting crunch to silky smooth soups. Try them with my Roasted Parsnip and Cumin Soup.

Cut into matchsticks and lightly steamed, young parsnips make a lovely salad, especially with grilled smoked mackerel and slightly bitter leaves. Sliced paper-thin, they can even be eaten raw in a wintry white salad, mixed with finely sliced kohlrabi, celeriac and black or white radishes. Dress with a lemony yogurt dressing and sprinkle with a shower of snipped chives or parsley
for colour.

Moving on to sweeter things, parsnips really excel in cakes and desserts. You can steam and mash them for an excellent lemon meringue pie filling – yes, really! Or think beyond carrot cake and use parsnips instead. Or try them in my recipe for Parsnip and Ginger Cupcakes with Tangerine Drizzle. The mild sweetness of the parsnips contrasts well with punchy ginger and citrus.

Parsnips are available most of the year, but are at their best after the first frosts have brought out their natural sweetness. I prefer to buy mine from a traditional greengrocer or a farm shop, caked in mud and freshly dug – they really do taste better. Snap one in half and you immediately get a heavenly whiff of clean fresh sweetness that heralds the flavour to come.


© Christine McFadden, December 2019

© 2021 The Dorset Foodie | Website by Compass