Root-ing for the underdog

parsnip salad

Tonight is the longest night in the Northern Hemisphere. Now that we are in the throes of winter, many of us long for the sunshine and vibrant colors of spring and summer vegetables. But even if we're dreaming of spring, we shouldn't overlook the great foods of fall and winter, like root vegetables.

If you are wondering what to do with often overlooked vegetables like turnips, parsnips, and rutabaga, the L.A. Times offers inspiration for these underappreciated foods. Russ Parsons gives us several reasons to enjoy these foods:  "They're sweet but not in a simple way. They're earthy, but not off-puttingly so. And they're immensely forgiving. You almost can't mess up a root vegetable."

While you can usually use this trio interchangeably in recipes, they are subtly different from one another, says Parsons. "Parsnips are sweet; turnips have a slight horseradish edge. Rutabagas are somewhere in between." He eschews boiling for glazing the roots or putting them in a gratin. The accompanying article provides 12 different recipes to get you started, and the EYB Library is always ready to often hundreds more recipes for parsnips, turnips, and rutabaga.

What's your favorite root vegetable recipe?

Photo of Shaved parsnip salad with grapefruit from Everyday Food Magazine

1 Comment

  • hillsboroks  on  12/22/2014 at 2:42 PM

    Our long-time family favorite recipe for roasting root vegetables comes from Cooks Illustrated's Jan-Feb.1994 article "How To Roast Root Vegetables." We use the recipe in that article for Roasted Carrots and and Red Onion with Balsamic Vinegar and just add whatever root vegetables we have on hand or sound good. We love it with parsnips, sweet potatoes, baby red potatoes, garlic cloves, and fennel along with carrots and onion. It great for mid-week suppers because all you need to add to the menu is a bit of grilled chicken, fish or other eat. This summer I got Andrea Chesman's books "The Roasted Vegetable" and "Recipes from the Root Cellar. Both books are already full of sticky notes marking recipes I have tried and liked or want to try. Using root vegetables this time of year just makes so much better sense than paying a premium for out-of-season vegetables transported halfway around the world. Not only are they expensive but they can be tasteless or of poor quality while in-season root veggies are fabulous and at their best right now.

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