Savoring the Seasons: More ways to enjoy parsnips!

Apr 20 2015

Last Wednesday, while bagging groceries at Green Fields Market as part of my co-op member worker hours, I enjoyed working alongside the friendly market staff and chatting with friends and people I’ve never met. We talked a lot about Winter Moon’s wonderful spring dug parsnips that I’d written about in last week’s column.

A woman I didn’t know introduced herself and said, “Aren’t you Mary McClintock? I enjoy your column and I just bought some parsnips.”

I thanked Tasha and asked her how she prepared parsnips. She said she made a chowder-like parsnip stew and used them in many recipes that call for potatoes.

Parsnip chowder! Tasha kindly sent her recipe (see below) and told me she used to write a cooking column and has a cooking show on the local TV station called “Tasha’s Kitchen.”

Later, when I asked my friend, Grace, about her favorite parsnip recipes, she told me about making parsnip fritters 40 years ago for a friend’s annual “cook a whole goose” party. That was the year they made side dishes from recipes in a medieval cookbook. Grace said the fritters were very light, not doughy, and so popular her friends talked about them for years and someone just mentioned them again a few weeks ago.

At Green Fields Market, we also talked about recent articles in The Recorder about studies on the cost of locally grown food (not as expensive as you might think!) and the challenges of making a living with a Community-Supported Agriculture farm or CSA. I’ll write more about this in future columns, but for now, here’s a reminder: It’s time to sign up for a CSA share. CISA (a great nonprofit organization called Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) has information about many local CSA farms on their website.

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This Week We’re Eating…

Parsnip Stew
By Tasha Halpert, North Grafton, Mass. (adapted from “The Best of Marjorie Standish Down East Recipes: Chowders, Soups and Stews”)

Delicious and warming, a great winter or spring standby. I make it often. You will, too.

2 T. Butter

2 T. olive oil

½ C. onion, diced

2 C. diced potatoes

2 C. water

salt and pepper to taste

3 C. parsnips cubed

1 quart any kind of milk*

minced parsley

Melt butter and olive oil together. Add chopped onion and cook until transparent. Add potatoes, water, salt, and pepper. Cover, bring to steaming point. Cook 10 minutes. Add cubed parsnips — they cook faster. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes once steaming point is reached. Test for doneness, cook longer if desired. Add milk, season to taste. Bring back to a simmer and either simmer a few minutes and serve or store to reheat for another meal. Sprinkle parsley just before serving. *Being lactose intolerant, I used oat milk which adds a delicious grain to the mix. However, feel free to use whatever you like.

Parsnip Fritters
By Grace Edwards, Sunderland

Ale Batter

2 C. white flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 egg

12 oz. ale, at room temperature

10-12 medium parsnips

6 T. vegetable oil suitable for frying

salt to taste

full recipe of Ale Batter

Scrape parsnips. Cut parsnips in half or thirds lengthwise. Then slice strips from each section.

Steam parsnip strips in half-boiling water for 5 to 8 minutes or until easily pierced with fork (be careful not to overcook). Drain on clean dish towels or paper towels to dry. Heat oil in large skillet. Drop a blob of batter in oil to test temperature. Dip strips into batter and fry until golden on both sides. Remove batter scraps from oil with slotted spoon between batches. Drain fritters on paper towels, sprinkling lightly with salt while still hot.



Apr 2024