We’re big parsnip fans here at Vegetarian – and gluten-free! They’re a lovely replacement for oven-baked fries made from potato, all that flavor really is something special and will vamp up any dish. But, is it a good idea to serve fries during a holiday feast? I don’t know. I settled on a mashed version, to accompany the pumpkin steaks – I thought having three different types would really create a good variety, allowing everyone to find their favourite mash.
While I really dug the apple-celery mash (it was so light and so fruity), the husband and his sister asked for seconds from the mashed roasted parsnips. I also had a lot of love for the mint-pea mash, but since I’d already tried that before and the apple-celery puree was new to me, it won this time.
This parsnip mash is amazingly creamy, it carries lots of toasty flavor (is there anything better on this earth than roasted garlic? I don’t think so!) and it goes so well with oregano, one of my favorite herbs for creamy dishes. You must – and you need to promise – use only fresh oregano. The dried kind: just not the same. Trust me on this one. Please.
Two large parsnips
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 head garlic
3/4 cup of milk (I am sure you can veganize this dish easily, using vegan milk and cream, e.g. made from nuts – this will give the dish a whole new dimension – oh my!)
2 tbsp heavy cream (I used crème double)
1 tbsp butter
5 sprigs fresh oregano
Heat your oven to 210°C.
Wash and peel the parsnips and cut them into long sticks (e.g. like you would potatoes for fries). Place into a bowl, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil and then transfer onto a baking tin that you have lined with baking parchment.
Peel an entire head of garlic (that should be about ten or more garlic pieces) and transfer into a small oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with olive oil and some salt.
Place baking tin with the parsnips and the oven-proof dish with your garlic into your oven and toast the parsnips and the garlic until they are done, about twenty to twenty five minutes depending on your oven. You should really broil the garlic though, so I suggest you keep it in the oven longer, if need be. Remove parsnips and roasted garlic from oven and allow to cool off a bit. Place parsnips and roasted garlic into a medium pot and cover with milk. Proceed to puree parsnips until they are an even mash, adding the oregano leaves mid-way through. Turn on the stove, add the butter and allow it to melt, while stirring the parsnip mash. Add the heavy cream and season mash with salt and pepper according to your own taste. You may have to add a bit more milk in the process, because the parsnip mash tends to “suck up” fluids quite well and become a bit heavy and dry. Of course, if you own such a thing, you can place your parsnip mash into a pastry bag or a cookie-press and then arrange your parsnip puree beautifully on your plate. (The parsnip mash is the one in the middle – so delicious and frothy!)