Yes, I have never tried a parsnip before. And I am not a big fan of carrots, to which the parsnip is closely related. But one of our commitments this farmers' market season is to try more "new to us" foods - and when we stopped by Brookford Farm's stand today at the Portsmouth Farmers' Market to buy potatoes, they mentioned that they had Spring-dug parsnips - so we decided to get a couple to try.
Several people stopped us as we walked around the market to give us parsnip cooking hints (you have to love how friendly folks are at the markets - I can't remember the last time someone stopped me in the grocery store to talk all excitedly about what was in my cart!!). Anyway, some folks said parsnips are best when roasted as part of a "meat and potatoes" dish - others said boiled and mashed is the way to go - and someone else mentioned parsnip "fries."
We decided to go with oven-baked fries, and followed this recipe from the Green Earth Institute website:
Cut parsnips into French fry shape. Toss with olive oil and sea salt. Spread on cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for 40 minutes or until crispy outside and tender inside.
The verdict? Parsnips might not be my favorite veggie find ever - but they're pretty tasty! An excellent kick-off to farmers' market season - and I'm already looking forward to seeing what "new" food I can bring home next week!
Speaking of next week, the Exeter farmers' market opens this coming Thursday (May 6) - check out Seacoast Eat Local for farmers' market schedules and more opening dates!