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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Turnips and Parsnips

"4. Try one new thing every week" --The Skinny Gourmet Philosophy

I advocate experimentation in the kitchen. I think it keeps you from getting into a rut. I think trying one new thing a week keeps the kitchen exciting. So last night I put my money where my mouth is. We had friends over for dinner at the last minute. I had decided to prepare chicken sausage and potatoes, because they were available. But this week while shopping at the local market, I had also picked up a turnip and a parsnip. I have to admit I actually had to ask the man standing next to me which was which. I decided on a simple, basic preparation of roasted vegetables with minimal seasoning so I could learn what the natural flavor of these vegetables was.

I prepared them thinly sliced with a drizzle of olive oil, a bit of chicken broth, salt & pepper, and a sprinkling of fresh oregano and rosemary from my garden. The resulting dish, pre-roasting, is pictured at the right. When it came out of the oven I was delighted to see that the parsnips had curled at the edges. I think I will use this as a healthy and flavorful design element in the future.

A little poking around on the internet reveals a few interesting facts about my new friends the turnip and parsnip. Both have been cultivated since early Roman times, and the turnip may have been in cultivation thousands of years before. Parsnip is a favorite in English cuisine (my Welsh guest Sian was thrilled to see I had prepared them). The parsnip is related to the carrot, but contains more vitamins and minerals, including a particularly impressive dose of potassium. Better still one cup of parsnips has only 100 calories and an impressive dose of fiber (6.5 grams). The same portion of turnips provides 2.3 grams of fiber and a fair dose of folate for only 36 calories.


Anonymous said...

you've convinced me! i'll try it tonight...

Erin said...

I think trying new things is always good in an of itself, even if you eventually decide you don't love it. This is a very essential preparation that allows the natural flavor of these roots to come through. As such, it pairs very well with more flavorful mains, like a spicy chicken, or even beef with a mustard sauce.

I hope your foray into new foods goes well!

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