Something about this time of year allows us to mentally drift in to a world of ‘sweet entitlement’. Gone, are all distinctions between adults and kids. After all, it is the Holiday season. Let’s pamper ourselves now and make a New Years Resolution about it later, all in the name of ‘good old Christmas Spirit’. Something about the festive season brings about an inviting and softness from within us. Our language is laced with warmth, our expressions are mellow, we have all kinds of treats in serving bowls dotted around the living room, our home smells rosemary-esc from the coniferous trees and there is magic in the air.
Of course, the thought of opening gifts can be exciting , followed by a reaction of a ‘hit-or-miss’, but the meal rarely lets you down. Honey glazed ham, turkey, stuffing, Brussels’ sprouts, parsnips, to mention a few, require for the largest dinner plate and most giving elastic waist band.
Today’s entry is about those gold nuggets glistening from afar on the dinner table: Parsnips. This root vegetable tends to sit back subtly in the supermarket all year round for reasons beyond my comprehension, and then steals the show at the Christmas dinner table. Families serve them several different ways depending on their own traditions, but my favorite is the maple and mustard glazed parsnips. They transform from their ivory complexion to a deeper shade of yellow and after the initial crispness, turn molten in the mouth. The maple syrup and whole grain mustard add gentle character of a sticky crunch and the ginger adds subtle heat making this dish perfection personified.
2.5 lbs or 6 medium parsnips
7 tblsp sunflower oil
Fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Ginger (1 tsp grated)
1. Heat oven to 475 degrees
2. Trim top and bottom of parsnip and peel.
3. Chop parsnip across the width in half. Slice the narrower piece from top to bottom in half and the thicker piece in to 4 slices down the middle
4. Place in steamer for 8 minutes
5. Pour in 7 tablespoons of oil in a roasting tray and place in the oven
6. When parsnips are steamed, remove roasting tray carefully, Sprinkle crushed black pepper on to the hot oil and coat the parsnips in the oil. Put back in the oven
7. Mix the parsnip marinade of ginger, maple syrup and mustard
8. After the parsnips have been roasting for 20 minutes and should be golden, mix in the marinade and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes to allow it to crispen and stick to the parsnip
Of course, it should be served with Christmas dinner but doesn’t need to be limited to Christmas dinner. It’s a side that is great with all meat dishes, such as, roast chicken, burgers (replacing French fries).
Pearls of Wisdom
Please do not skip the steaming step as it could take a long time for the parsnips to soften in the oven.