Root of all Goodness

The little shot glass of parsnip soup served at restaurants as an amuse-bouche has become as ubiquitous as upscale burger joints. Still, I love most things made with this ugly root vegetable, and last week, while flipping through Darina Allen's Irish Traditional Cooking, I found a new recipe for them: fried parsnip cakes. Basically, you boil chopped parsnips until tender, mash them with a fork and some butter, form them into pancakes, bread them and fry them. Brilliant! She sprinkles them with bacon (an excellent addition), but I decided to riff on shepherd’s pie and used the cakes to top lamb stew. Since they were a little delicate to handle and fell apart easily, I think next time I’ll blend the parsnips with potatoes to create a silkier, starchier puree. I bet it will fry up even more beautifully.

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