Jeff Cerciello says the inspiration to combine parsnips and dates came from Moro, a Moorish restaurant in London. To get the parsnips nicely browned, he cooks them on the stovetop in batches before roasting them with the dates, which caramelize in the oven.
More Moroccan Recipes
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, smashed
3 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced on the diagonal 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 cups sliced pitted Medjool dates (about 12)
5 marjoram sprigs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground sumac (see Note)
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, heat the 3/4 cup of olive oil with the garlic and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and reserve for another use. Add half of the parsnips to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and barely tender, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the parsnips to a roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining parsnips, then scrape the parsnips and any oil into the roasting pan. Add the dates and marjoram sprigs, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 8 minutes, just until the parsnips are tender and the dates are slightly caramelized. Transfer the parsnips and dates to a platter.
In a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the lemon juice, sumac and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt. Serve the roasted parsnips and dates, passing the spiced yogurt at the table.
Ground sumac is made from a tangy dried berry. It is available at specialty shops and Middle Eastern markets and online at chefshop.com.
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