Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Textures of Parsnips

Collaboration - The act or process of collaborating. A product resulting of collaboration.

Nothing gets my creative juices flowing more than working with a talented person. So it goes without saying that any day that I can work with Natasha from 5 Star Foodie is a great day.

For this month's collaboration we decided to build dishes around the color white.  There is something truly elegant about an all white dish.  Each component of the dish was to be white or mostly white.  This dish is a study in parsnips offering different preparation and textures.

Check out Lazaro's White Dish on 5 Star Foodie.

Enjoy another 5 Star Foodie Masterpiece...

My friend Lazaro is always full of wonderful ideas and inspiration to create amazing new dishes. When he suggested the idea for a project with a white color theme, I was definitely very excited to work with him on this concept. After a lot of thinking, for my dish I decided to focus on one single ingredient, parsnips.

Parsnip is a root vegetable of European origin similar to a carrot but pale white in color and sweeter in taste when cooked. Parsnips are often overlooked in favor of other root vegetables especially since the potatoes have been introduced from America to the rest of the world. They are most often used in soups, stews, or side dishes along with other root vegetables. In my dish, however, the parsnip is a star. I prepared the parsnips in various ways to explore different textures and flavors of this vegetable.

The centerpiece is the parsnip custard, with a delicate, smooth, pudding-like texture and a naturally sweet flavor of the parsnip. The surrounding parsnip velouté is perfectly silky and creamy, and white pepper is the unique flavor enhancement in this component. The dehydrated parsnips chips provide a lovely crunchy contrast to the smooth textures of the velouté and add a bit of saltiness to the overall flavor profile.

The goat cheese parsnip snow is perhaps the most playful component here. The frozen flakes don't actually melt right away, and in addition of adding a unique textural effect of "snow", they also provide an interesting contrast in temperature and add a perfect touch of acidity to the dish. This goat cheese "snow" can be used as a unique garnish for many other dishes, with or without parsnip powder addition.


chips & powder
1 large parsnip
Coarse salt

Goat cheese parsnip "snow"
2 oz creamy goat cheese
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons parsnips powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Parsnip Velouté
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups parsnips, cubed
1 onion, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
Salt, white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cream

Parsnip custard
2 large parsnips, cubed
Vegetable stock
Salt to taste
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
Pinch of grated nutmeg

chips & powder
Peel and thinly slice the parsnip, using a very sharp knife or a mandoline. Bring water to boil in a pot. Drop the parsnip slices in and boil for about 1 minute. Blanch in ice water for two minutes. Pat dry well and arrange on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Dehydrate in the oven on 200°F for about 2 hours or until crispy.

Reserve enough chips for plating and grind the rest into fine powder.

Goat cheese parsnip "snow"
In a bowl, combine goat cheese, white balsamic vinegar, parsnips powder, and salt. Whisk until very smooth. Form into a log in a plastic wrap, close tightly and freeze for at least two hours, until frozen solid.

Parsnip Velouté
Melt butter in a large pot. Add parsnips and onions and cook for a few minutes. Add stock and bring to boil. Season with salt and white pepper.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet and add flour, stirring continuously. Place the mixture in the pot with the parsnips and mix to blend. Cover and cook on medium-low heat until the parsnips are very tender. Blend with an immersion blender and strain through a fine sieve back into the pot. Whisk in the cream. Warm up before serving and blend with an immersion blender again.

Parsnip custard
Place parsnips in a pot, pour enough stock to cover the parsnips. Bring to boil, season with salt, and simmer until parsnips are tender. Puree the parsnips in a food processor with just a little bit of liquid, adding more if necessary. Strain the puree.

Add 1/2 cup of the parsnips puree into a bowl along with milk, egg yolks, and a pinch of nutmeg. Whisk into a smooth mixture. Pour into well oiled ramekins (should be enough for about four to six 1/4 cup size ramekins). Place the ramekins in a baking dish and fill with water half-way up. Place baking pan with ramekins on middle rack in oven. Bake on 350° until custards are set, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the cups to a rack to cool completely, uncovered.

to assemble
Carefully invert the custards on each plate. Pour velouté around the custard. Arrange the parsnips chips over the custard and the velouté. At the last minute, the frozen goat cheese and shred it all over each plate.


  1. Talk about creativity! This dish has everything in it, taste, texture, looks, creativity, you name it, it has it. I am in awe with your goat cheese parsnip snow, Natasha. I've never heard of anything like it. The fact that you actually even froze it to make it feel like snow is pure genius. We all know what a boring colour white can be to work with, but you've taken that boring factor and totally thrown it out the window here. This dish is the complete opposite of boring. You've presented it beautifully, creatively and brilliantly. Thank you Lazaro and Natasha for sharing this magic with us.

  2. Nice Natasha! I love the snow!!! What a playfully elegant presentation. I think the parsnip is an undervalued root, and I love how you've elevated it! Congrats!

  3. Natasha you always amazed us with your excellent dishes and this one is one such magical creation! I never thought that you can go so creative with parsnips and you show us the road! Excellent mouthwatering and visually appealing parsnips custard!

  4. Amazing is right I agree with you alwayswinner786.. she is quite amazing and this looks fantastic~

  5. I agree with all the comments - I love everything about this - the textures, the contrasts and the prettiness (all right, can do without the snow - sorry - enough snow!). And it is wonderful that all the ingredients are accessible. Never did the parsnip dress up so beautifully!

  6. The patience and creativity you both employ in your dishes is quite amazing. Do I see a cookbook collaboration for the New Year?

    I love parsnips. They are so under-rated and under used! I love the idea of the parsnip custard, wouldn't that be nice with my roast beef for Christmas? Maybe I'll get some today at the store! Thanks for the inspiration! Cheers!

  7. Now this is the kind of White Christmas I dream of... GREG

  8. These are all incredibly unique uses for parsnips! The snow is especially unique! What a fun idea, and I agree this would be a great garnish elsewhere as well. I bet the custard is amazing! It looks so silky.

  9. Wow this dish is like a state of art! I like this idea of working around a certain ingredient.

    Natasha, you conveyed a terrific dish and presentation of parsnips in many different ways. You amazed us! My favorite I think would be parsnip snow. I only cooked parsnip for cold soup with apple.

    You two always have excellent idea and bring a creativity to us!

  10. Natasha, I can not believe you made an entire dish foucusing on one ingredient! I love parsnips. I have only ever used them as you mentioned, in a side dish with other veggies and in a creamy soup! Blown away as usual by this. The addition of the "snow" is fantastic.

  11. Lazaro, I'm so glad you had the chance to collaborate with Natasha again! You are both incredibly talented and inspiring and I always love seeing what you both come up with.

    Natasha, I was so excited to see a dish that highlights parsnip in so many ways! Until recently I had only ever eaten parsnip in soups/stews; recently I made a parsnip cake with parsnip and it was wonderful! The smell alone was amazing, especially while I was shredding the parsnip...to me is smelled fresh and bright and a little astringent (sort of like parsley or celery), but it was a really pleasant, clean smell (oddly enough, it reminded me of 7UP!). You're right, when cooked it takes on such a lovely sweet and somewhat nutty flavor, almost like roasted chesnuts. I can imagine how the different ways you prepared the parsnip for this beautiful dish compliment each other so well. Fantastic job!

  12. I love parsnips, but they have never gotten a treatment like this in my kitchen... inventive, playful and delicious... you are a wonder!

  13. Love the snow and the powder. How creative and beautiful!

    Parsnips are one of my favorite root vegetables. I cooked with it for the first time year, but pretty basic. This is indeed a masterpiece!

  14. Hey there Lazaro :) I'm a big fan of Natasya & loved her post on all white, magnificent, what a truly stunning theme. Parsnips have a bad rep & I'm pleased to see you giving this wonderful vegetable a great shout out. Fabulous guys..... much more collaboration between the two of you methinks :)

  15. The snow is so beautiful! This is such a creative dish, and you've inspired me to cook with parsnips!

  16. denise @ quickies on the dinner tableDecember 21, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    Magical and inspiring!! Whimsical yet thoughtfully balanced and perfectly executed!

    All white can be pallid and boring but you have outdone yourself, Natasha! Beautiful and so in tune with the season.....

    Thank you Laz and Natasha for the festive inspiration :)

  17. Natasha:

    And here I would use them in soup or smash them. How very creative and now I must go to your blog and become a follower.

  18. This is very clever of you Natasha! Parsnips really are surprisingly sweet, and though I hadn't thought of it before would make a really interesting custard. The different textures here are playful and fun.

  19. Wow that an amazing dish! I was just going to oven roast my parsnips....pale in comparison! ;D

  20. The goat cheese snow is fantastic! I'm going to have to borrow that idea. The flavors and textures here sound fantastic. What a great dish!

  21. OK You got me here: I have got to try parsnips now, no excuses! Love your arrangement, the ideas behind it, the rainbow of tastes, all of it. Bravo and happy holidays!

  22. Passion4Food here to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. May 2011 bring you lots of happiness and friendship. Have an awesome day with your love ones!!

    jen @ www.passion4food.ca

  23. This is just .... wow!

    Natasha and Lazaro, your collaboration is magic!

  24. How unique! I bet this was a huge hit. And I love the photo of the chips...ooh and cannot wait to try your snow technique.

    You two always have such innovative ideas.

  25. You two are just amazing. I love these collaborations with two of the most creative cooks I know. I always come away humbled and inspired, not to mention hunggry.

  26. What a beautiful and unique dish...the snow idea is just incredible :)
    Hope you both had a fantastic Holiday!


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