5 June 2006
Seasonal and Simple ‘Nips
Aaahhh June – our CSA starts weekly deliveries, and we have fresh local produce to experiment with!
Two simple treatments I tried this week:
Baby Turnips (not white radishes!)
We received what I thought were white radishes, but I see now (upon re-reading the newsletter) must have been baby turnips. Last year when we had a mishap with black radishes being mistaken for something else, I learned that radishes can be roasted. Since I was roasting some chicken, I put the radishes, errrr, baby turnips in a small tin pan, tossed with just enough olive oil to coat, and a splash of pear vinegar. They roasted somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes – primarily on 350, but I had to crank the oven up to 425 for 15 minutes to cook some appetizers. The result was superb – very sweet and tender. I’ll definitely try this again.
Our share also contained frost-sweetened parsnips that had overwintered in the ground. For those, I turned to Vegetables by James Peterson. He writes that “when properly cooked, parsnips are a plasant surprise” and “Parsnips are like a cross between carrots and potatoes; they are sweet like carrots and have a satisfying starchiness like potatoes.” I tried his recipe for glazed parsnips (see below). I only had 1 (rather large) parsnip, so scaled his recipe down, but otherwise followed the directions. It was simple enough to cook while simultaneously tending more fussy dishes (like erstwhile curried lentil patties). I’m not sure how ‘thick’ my glaze was, but the result was fabulous. The parsnips were tender, sweet, and slightly browned – stunningly delicious.
3 to 7 parsnips (2 lbs total)
1 tsp sugar (optional; I used a fat pinch)
2 Tab butter (I used 1)
1/2 cup broth or water (I used 1/4 cup water)
salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Peel the parsnips and cut them crosswise into sections about 1.5 inches long. Cut the larger section sinto smaller sections so all are about the same size. (My parsnip was fat, since I only read “how to choose parsnips” after picking up the share. As a result, I cut out the core.)
Spread the parsnips in a skillet or sauté pan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Sprinkle over the sugar, add the butter, pour on the broth or water, and add salt (I overlooked the salt!).
Bring to a simmer over medium heat, partially cover the pan. Turn down the heat to low, to maintain a slow simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, toss or stir the parsnips to get them to turn over in the pan and cook evenly, and cook partially covered for 10 minutes more. Check for doneness by poking them with a paring knife – they should be easy to penetrate but still offer some resistance. If there’s still liquid in the bottom of the pan, remove the lid and turn the heat up to high. Boil down the liquid until it forms a thick glaze that coats the parsnips.