January 26, 2007

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with Thyme

So, to prove that I really do know what a parsnip looks like, I roasted some the other night. It was Genie who got me thinking about them again when she made the same mistake I almost did, by buying diakon radishes instead of parsnips. How parsnips and daikon radishes can bring such self-awareness and tolerance, I’ll never cease to be amazed. I mean, they make great vegetables, but counselors? I had my doubts.

Turns out parsnips are pretty good listeners. Daikon are too, although, I find Daikon, with their brilliant white exterior, to be a bit condescending. I mean, it listens, but is it judging? Daikon seem to be a bit superficial for my taste; the way they use their good looks to lure you away from other, say, tastier root vegetables, while the brownish, well-worn exterior of the parsnip shows life experience and tolerance, if you will. Sure, it’s kind of fugly, in that “my-cousin-was-born-with-an-antler” kind of way, but it’s a veg you can bring home to Mom and Dad.

So, now that you will be able to tell these two albino-looking carrots apart, what do you do with them? I’d only used parsnips once, in this delicious crepe filling. I was really impressed with this “new to me” vegetable since:

1) They are surprisingly sweet tasting
2) They are similar to (yet somehow better than) carrots
3) They are unexpected
They are pleasing to my husband, unlike most vegetables.

This could be one of my favorite side dishes and I will surely make it again and again! Parsnips roast up so well – they caramelize and taste so yummy! I didn’t know how adding the carrots would turn out; I thought they might detract or compete with the parsnips, but I was really happy they were there. The glaze is delicious yet subtle; it enhances the flavor of the vegetables instead of just adding sweetness.


Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with Thyme

2 lbs parsnips, peeled
1 lb baby carrots
5 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 Tbsp fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to the pan. Stir to combine just until sugar melts. Remove from heat.

Quarter the peeled parsnips lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces, roughly the size of the carrots. Place the carrots and parsnips on a baking sheet and drizzle with the buttery glaze. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss the vegetables until evenly coated with the butter.

Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the thyme over the vegetables, stir to combine, and return them to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. The parsnips should be caramelized and tender. Serve warm. Serves 4 generously.


Genie said...

Megan, you are too funny -- antler-born cousins and all... :-) This looks like a great way to show off one's parsnips -- I'll give it a whirl!

I still need to make those crepes, too. Soon...soon...

By the way -- the photo is making me hungry!

Shelly said...

OH my that looks good! I will have to try this soon!

Katie said...

I have yet to see parsnips at any of my markets. Lately, though I have been seeing very dirty/sandy carrots from Nantes at a much higher price then the usual clean ones I buy. Gourmet carrots? Maybe next week I'll see if they are worth the price - and hauling all that sand home.
Gret recipe! I love brown sugar/balsamic combos.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh boy yes I love roated parsnips and now I must try adding the carrots. Ho,ho the thyme is still growing in my winter garden!

Jayhawk said...

I am a huge fan of parsnips, and I can't wait to try this. Unfortunately I will have to wait almost a week, at which time my wife will be out of town. Not only does she not share my passion for parsnips, she cannot stand the smell and will not be in the house when I cook them.

When she goes on a trip I do not indulge in dancing girls and blue movies. I pig out on (in addition to parsnips) cornbread, stewed tomatoes, black-eyed peas, squash of all types, greens... Yum. Almost makes it worthwile being a, temporary, bachelor.

Megan said...

Genie - Thanks! Let me know how you like the crepes!

Shelly, Katie and Tanna - I hope you can try it soon! I think it's to die for! =)

Jayhawk - Thanks for visiting! How unfortunate that your wife hates parsnips! For me, when my husband is gone, it's usually fish (of any kind) and dark greens that I indulge in! I guess there is an upside!

emily said...

parsnips are wonderful but daikon are oh so versatile and such a huge part of asian cuisine (you know, the kind that asian people actually make in their own homes). my mom got me into pickled daikon, where it's sliced into 1/4 or 1/2 inch semicircles and marinated with a few jalapeno slices and carrot rounds with a sugar & vinegar mixture. a delicious accompaniment to spicy asian foods.