Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Whaddya Do with Parsnips?

Portland has been keeping the weather weird. Rain, sun, thundershowers, hail, rainbows – all in a single day. And today’s high promises to be a record setter –  for the coldest May 4.

So the early spring we saw in March is long gone. And it’s time to get back to casseroles. Before Persephone Farms’ last day at the Farmers’ Market until July, Trevor brought home some potatoes, parsnips and rapini – a slightly bitter green. We used the root vegetables for one of our favorite recipes from the Moosewood New Classics cookbook, Potato Parsnip Gratin. This cheesy dish is perfect for cold winter – or spring – nights.

The trick to making this gratin is to slice the potatoes and parsnips as thinly as possible. You can use a mandoline or really sharp knife. Trevor does a much better job of making really thin slices than I do with his Victorinox /Forschner Chef’s knife. We’re always fighting over who gets to use that knife.

The other trick is adding about 1 cup of cubed ham steak to the gratin. It’s not needed, but it sure is good!

This recipe also calls for thyme, which we have in our herb garden, and shallots and garlic, which still have in our root cellar. When we last made this recipe we used some pink-fleshed potatoes along with Yellow Finn and I think it made the casserole prettier.

We also lightly sautéed some rapini and garlic to eat with the gratin. It’s important not to cook the rapini for too long otherwise it will become bitter. While I love casseroles, I’m definitely looking forward to warmer weather and eating more spring vegetables. Since Persephone won’t be at the market until the summer, we’ll be shopping at other stands. And reporting in on what we make.


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