Saturday, 13 September 2008
Recipe: Parsnips, with Walnuts and Sherry
This is definitely a dish for the cooler months...which seems highly appropriate since today it's grey and raining, and the temperature has dropped ten degrees in as many hours! The combination of puréed parsnips with a light topping of walnuts is unexpectedly good, and the indefinable edge provided by a slug of sherry takes this dish to another level. I defy anybody to be able to identify the ingredient, but they'll certainly know there's something there... Originally, I came across this recipe in an old book that had been passed on to me, and the implication was that it was a preparation method of some age. In fact, the alcohol of choice in that version was madeira rather than sherry (I substituted sherry, on the basis that I always have some on the go, so it was easier), and for me madeira always has about it the hint of a victorian cathedral close...so the suggestion of age might indeed be correct.
Excellent with any roast meat, the last stage in cooking the parsnips also fits with this combination, as the finished dish can just go into the oven for the last twenty minutes of roasting time, enough to heat the parsnips through and to brown the walnuts.
Ingredients: 4 large-ish Parsnips; 4 fl oz Cream; 2 fl oz medium Sherry; half a teaspoon of ground Nutmeg; Salt & Pepper, to taste; 2 oz Butter; 2 oz Walnut pieces.
1. Peel the Parsnips and cut into pieces; steam for twenty minutes or so, until tender (you could equally cook them in water, I suppose, if you don't have a steamer). Leave to cool for ten minutes or so.
2. Once cool enough to handle, process the cooked Parsnips along with all of the other ingredients apart from the Walnut pieces. Turn out into a greased ovenproof dish, and level the surface.
3. Sprinkle the Walnut pieces evenly over the surface of the Parsnip purée, and place into the lower part of a hot oven for fifteen to twenty minutes. (The Walnut pieces should each be no larger than a pine-nut - if they're larger, before sprinkling them, break them up by crushing gently between your hands.)