If you’ve never had roasted parsnip fries you are in for a decadent fall treat. The natural sweetness in these root vegetables is increased to roasty-toasty perfection. Add a zesty orangy mayo and you’ll be gobbling down these fries before you can share with anyone! (Skip to recipe)
This weekend was parsnip digging time in our garden.
There wasn’t much left to harvest.
Out came the last of the potatoes – the Yukon Golds, the Russian Purples, and the German Banana Potatoes.
Out came the parsnips and the Hamburg Rooted Parsley.
Out came the last strawy stems of beans and herbs, and the stumpy stems of kale the foraging deer had stripped bare (those pesky robbers already got to my carrots and beets).
The garden can now be put to bed.
Sections of it are already covered in its blanket of dead leaves. They’ve been gathered off the lawn and spread over the sleeping garden to quietly break down and yield their rich load of minerals and healthy bacteria when we till them into the soil next spring.
When we started digging at the stubborn, deeply-rooted parsnips, we were surprised at how big they’d grown!
It was a wonderful reward for yesterday’s work.
Like a pan full of roasted fall.
Warm, chewy and crunchy. Soft, toasty and golden.
You really must try roasting parsnips. Their flavour is sweet, earthy and sublime – totally transformed when roasted to crispy-at-the-edges addictive perfection.
And that sauce – oh my – spicy, tangy, and so simple to stir together!
(I just hope your teenager doesn’t come in and eat half the pan while you are trying to photograph them so you have to go outside to the tub full of parsnips in the garage, get another bowlful of them, have to peel them, slice them and roast another whole batch again so you have enough for supper – just sayin’ – since those dirty fingernails in the photo above gave him away.)
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Kitchen Frau Notes: I always keep a can of frozen unsweetened orange juice in my freezer. I pop the lid back on, slip a plastic sandwich baggie over the top and put an elastic band around it. It never freezes totally solid, and I love scooping out a spoonful to add to dishes whenever I need a hit of concentrated citrus flavour and don’t want to squeeze or zest an orange. It’s a handy trick and wonderful secret flavour booster for many veggies, meats, or salad dressings.
If you are making this for young children, or wish for a milder version, use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or substitute it with ½ teaspoon regular sweet paprika.)
- 2 lbs (1 kg) parsnips (about 6 cups when cut into sticks)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
For the sauce:
- ¼ cup (60 ml) mayonnaise – regular, light, or egg-free
- 3 tablespoons frozen unsweetened orange juice concentrate
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Peel and trim the parsnips. Cut them into french-fry-sized strips.
Place them on a large cookie sheet. You can line the pan with parchment paper or tin foil for ease of clean up. (My well-seasoned ceramic pan cleans up pretty easily with just a soak in warm water.) Ideally, the pan should be large enough that the parsnip fries can be spread in a single layer.
Drizzle the fries with the olive oil and plop on the orange juice concentrate – it will thaw as you toss it. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Using two spatulas, toss the parsnip fries until they are evenly coated with the oil and seasonings.
Roast in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, turning the fries with a spatula every 10 to 15 minutes, until they are brown and crispy at some of the edges. Parsnip fries will not get as crispy all over as potato fries, but will still be moist in spots, and subtly sweet.
While the parsnips are roasting, stir together the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl.
Serves 4 – if all the fries make it to the table!
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