Although it does a fairly good imitation of a carrot, do not attempt to eat a parsnip in its natural state. The humble root was designed for cooking. Roasting and frying—both demonstrated in a single Thomas Keller recipe, below—in particular bring out the winter vegetable’s sweet and mellow flavor.
Bouchon Bakery’s Roasted-Parsnip Salad
5 medium parsnips, plus 2 for frying
5 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces honey
1 orange, zested and sectioned
1 star anise, ground
Canola oil for frying
1 head frisée, cleaned and dried, leaves separated
1 teaspoon chives, chopped
1 teaspoon shallots, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the roasted parsnips: Preheat oven to 400. (1) Peel parsnips and cut into baton shape. In a small pan, melt butter. In a bowl, toss the parsnips with honey, melted butter, and salt. (2) Place parsnips in shallow baking pan, and bake in oven until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and return parsnips to bowl. (3) Fold in orange zest and ground star anise. Set aside.
For the fried parsnips: Peel and clean the remaining two parsnips. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the parsnips into thin ribbons. In a deep frying pan, heat the canola oil to 300 degrees. Fry the parsnip ribbons in batches until golden brown and remove to paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble salad: Toss frisée with chives, shallots, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the roasted parsnips on the plate. Place the frisée salad in a mound in the middle of the plate, and top with the fried parsnip ribbons. Garnish with orange segments and an optional swirl of grapefruit marmalade. Serves 4.
For the grapefruit marmalade:
1 cup grapefruit juice
1 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup sugar
Zest grapefruit. Using a vegetable peeler, peel grapefruit, and then dice the peel. Place in pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and strain. Repeat two more times. Strain and reserve. Combine grapefruit juice, champagne vinegar, sugar and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Add zest and cook over low heat until thickened. Cool at room temperature.