Parsnips Primer

The garden catalogs are coming in the mail and I’m sighing wishfully over the pictures of all the fresh vegetables!  As I’m working on my seed order for the year,  I’m overwhelmed with the possibilities. Maybe I should be like my Mom and Dad who choose one new thing to try every year. Their latest choice was parsnips. Here’s Mom’s take on this root vegetable.

ParsnipsThis year we chose parsnips as our “new” veggie in the garden.  They were easy to plant and had such pretty leaves.

This fall Papa dug up one for us to try. But now what should we do with it?

It was time for some research!

Rachel Ray’s cooking magazine had a page with information on it and we uncovered a   recipe for Roasted-Parsnip Bread Pudding in a Martha Stewart magazine.  We couldn’t go wrong with this expert advice!  It had to be delicious!

We learned that parsnips can be stored in the crisper, wrapped individually in paper towels in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.  A friend said that they would leave them in the soil in the garden all winter and eat them in the spring – we are experimenting with this!

You can also purchase them in a supermarket — avoid roots with brown spots or lots of hair-like sprouts.  Select medium uniformly shaped roots for easier prep.

We discovered that parsnips have a mild flavor so they can be “paired” up with potatoes & mashed; grated raw into coleslaw or salads; used shredded for half of the carrot in a cake or muffin; added to stews and soups; or sliced and roasted in oven.

Roasted Parsnip Bread Pudding
(use as a side-dish)
Can be made ahead, refrigerated for 24 hours, let stand at room temp for 15 min before baking
Serves 6 – 8

1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt & Pepper
2 Tbs. butter, plus 3Tbs. melted
3 Cups chopped onions
2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme (or equivalent of dried)
2 Cups heavy cream ( I used canned evaporated milk)
5 Eggs
1 Cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 Loaf (12 ounces) bread cut into 1 inch cubes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle parsnips with oil, season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking occasionally, until caramelized and tender, (25 min). Let cool. Reduce heat to 375 degrees.

Heat 2 Tbs. butter over med heat in a medium saute pan until melted. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 min. Remove form heat. Add thyme and stir in the roasted parsnips.

Whisk together melted butter, heavy cream, eggs and 3/4 cup Parmesan in a large bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Add onion-parsnip mixture, then fold in bread. (This can be refrigerated overnight.)

Pour the  mixture into a shallow, buttered 2-quart baking dish. Cover loosely with foil. Bake until golden brown and puffed, 50 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and bake for 10 minutes more.

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nana Shirley

I’ve linked this post up with An Oregon Cottage’s Tuesday Garden Party.