Most of the flavor in parsnips is right below the skin, so it's best just to give them a good scrubbing rather than peel too much of the outer layer. Larger roots may have a woody core which should be cut out and discarded or saved for stock.
Unlike carrots, parsnips are usually not eaten raw, but there are many ways to cook them. Oven roasting may be the simplest and tastiest way to enjoy parsnips. They can also be boiled, braised, fried, grilled, mashed, puréed, or steamed. Flavor affinities include butter, cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Parsnips work well in dishes with potatoes and other root vegetables like carrots, celery root, turnips, and rutabagas. They can also add complexity to stock and creaminess to soup.
• Maple Roasted Parsnips, from Nigella Lawson
• Parsnip and Pear Latkes, from Bon Appétit
• Parsnip, Mushroom and Leek Gratin, from The Kitchn
• Puréed Parsnips, from The Kitchn
• Spiced Parsnip Soup, from Saveur
Any other recipe ideas?
Related: Seasonal Spotlight: Celeriac
(Image: Gregory Han)