Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oven “Grilled” Parsnips – Could These Replace French Fries?

No chance – but that doesn’t take anything away from this simple, delicious, and quite dip-able roasted parsnips recipe. As I mention in the video, I was inspired by some grilled parsnips that showed up as a side dish at a recent meal, and I wanted that same effect without having to go out to the backyard.

The combination of a very hot oven, the generous cooking time, and a pre-roast, lemon-olive oil soak gets you pretty close to grill marks country. Also, this method seems to mellow the root’s bold flavor, and while the outside remains pleasantly fibrous, the inside gets creamy and sweet.

One note about the use of lemon here: As anyone who has ever tried to cook raw green beans in a tomato sauce will tell you, an acidic cooking liquid can toughen the surface of a vegetable. I learned why in culinary school, but that was in 1984, and I’m kind of fuzzy on anything before the Clinton administration. I’m sure one of our resident scientists will chime in with a concise explanation.

Anyway, whether you’re looking for a new and exciting side dish, or something to dip into aioli besides potatoes, I hope you give this oven “grilled” parsnips recipe a try. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 servings:
2 pounds parsnips
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
*Aleppo pepper, to taste

*Aleppo pepper is my new favorite ground chili pepper! It’s a moderately hot and fruity pepper that’s said to have “cumin-like undertones,” as Wikipedia puts it. For more information, click here.