Curb Market Crawl – Persnickety Parsnips

Curb Market Crawl – Persnickety Parsnips

I popped in to one the numerous curb farm markets the other day on a mission. My dwarf long pod okra plants are disappointing – as in puny, sickly little plants – and in my head I figured farm market = farmer.
I mean, I can grow okra. And over the past four years I’ve become fairly adept at growing well producing, Jack and the Beanstalk tall okra plants…. so I know a thing or two.
But these dwarf plants… there’s just no love there. They are barely 8″ tall, and at the rate we’re going, it’ll be October before I see pod one. I wanted some help.
Turns out, Farm Market  = Green Grocer and he wasn’t all that much help in that arena except to suggest that maybe I should pull up the dwarfs and  lay in some Clemson Spineless Okra plants (which he happened to have a large shelf full of right by the register).

Not a whole lot of help – but I did grudgingly pick up a couple of pots to lay in along with the dwarfs… to, you know… hedge my bets a bit.

While he’s happily ringing up my $3.95 ea. pot, I ask if he’s gotten in anything new produce-wise. He points off to the side and says,” That feller’s a new grower, he’s got some new vegetables. Go see what he’s got”

He had parsnips.
He had a boat load of parsnips.
… and some asparagus.

I’ve never been a fan of the parsnip. A white, close relative of the carrot, they have a tendency to be
woody… and soapy… and if you grew up in the South,  a little like eating Queen Anne’s Lace roots.

But hey, I hadn’t done much with the Curb Market Crawl this season, so one bad vegetable wasn’t going to kill me, so I picked up a couple pounds of them.


Thing #1
Parsnip Soup
I found a recipe HERE for Spiced Parsnip Soup. And, since my only real knowledge of them was eating a shredded parsnip salad that was slightly reminiscent of Dawn Dishwashing liquid at a restaurant in Vancouver once, I figured one recipe was just as good as another.
It was horrible.
… and I’m not even going to show you a picture of it. It went from the pot to the disposal in about 5 minutes.

Thing #2
Sauteed Parsnips
Let’s rethink this. Parsnips are kind of like the love child of a bad potato and a carrot. So, I decided to blanch them off for 3 minutes in salted water, chill them, then pan saute them with some fresh blanched green beans.

Nice little green bean sized sticks

They made the perfect accompaniment to the trout en papillote I did for the entree. (the Trout Recipe is coming over the weekend)

Thing #3
The Un-Boiled Dinner
Seeing how much I actually liked them cooked…. and not in a soup, I dug them out again the other night for the starch in my New England Un-Boiled Dinner with Smoked Sausage.

The Un-Boiled Dinner
w/ Smoked Sausage & Parsnips
Serves 4
1 Pound Smoked Sausage in Natural Casing (it just tastes better)
4 Parsnips – Peeled
1/2 Cup Baby Carrots
1 Rib Celery
1 Clove Garlic
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Ears Corn
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Large Pyrex baking Dish
Sharp Knife
Tin Foil

Preheat the oven to 375
Cut the sausage into 2″ sections and split in half
Quarter the parsnips and cut into 2″ sections
Cut the Celery and Corn into 2 ” Sections
Crush the Garlic
Oil the bottom of a 13″ or so 2″ deep baking dish
Place all the vegetables and sausage in the pan with the garlic and toss to lightly coat with oil
Lightly season the top with salt and pepper
Seal tightly with tin foil and bake in a 375 oven for 1 hour
Remove the foil, toss again lightly to coat in the juices and serve with brown rice.

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