Thursday, October 19, 2006

Parsnips are, like, not from California

When I moved to the East Coast parsnips were all the rage. Well, maybe not the rage, but they were most definitely abundant and served everywhere! In all my 20+ years of California living, I had never had a parsnip and suddenly felt very left out when I first had them. It reminded me of discovering the magic of a grilled cheese sandwiches in the parking lot at a Phish concert. I had no idea camping stoves could be put to such good use, just like I had no idea parsnips could make potatoes taste so much better...if only I'd known sooner!

Turns out that parsnips grow best in cold frosty weather, so it's no wonder I'd never had them. They weren't growing next to the fig or apricot tree. They look a lot like carrots, but they're paler in color and much more pungeant when cooked. The flavor can be exquisite, and maybe it's because I've linked them to East Coast tradition, but my palette reads them as sophisticated and elegant.

I just made a really edible puree, much like mashed potatoes, with 3 parsnips, 2 small white potatoes, 2 small red potatoes, butter, 1/2 and 1/2, and a little bit of truffle salt (a very much loved gift from mom!). I highly recommend this combo for a yummy fall side dish.