Delia

Parsnip, Parmesan and Sage Bread

I love to serve this bread with Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup with Parsnip Crisps, as it extends the parsnip flavour, but it's also good with tomato or any other soup, or for a snack with crisp apples and celery and a soft, ripe, creamy cheese such as Brie, Camembert or Dolcelatte. 


Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese is available from www.bookhamcheese.co.uk


Makes 1 loaf, to serve 4-6

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Parsnip, Parmesan and Sage Bread
Ingredients
 6 oz (175 g) parsnips (peeled weight)
 2 oz (50 g) Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) cubes (see recipe introduction)
 1 rounded tablespoon chopped fresh sage
 8 oz (225 g) self-raising flour
 1½ level teaspoons salt
 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
 1 tablespoon milk
For the topping:
 1 oz (25 g) Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) shavings (see recipe introduction)
 a few whole small sage leaves
 a little extra flour for dusting
 1 teaspoon olive oil
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C).
Equipment
You will also need a small, solid baking sheet, very well greased.

Method

First of all sift the flour and salt into a large, roomy bowl. Then put a grater in the bowl and coarsely grate the parsnips into the flour, then toss them around. After that, add the cubes of Parmesan and chopped sage and toss that in. 


Now lightly beat the eggs and milk together, then add this to the bowl a little at a time, mixing evenly with a palette knife.

What you should end up with is a rough, rather loose, sticky dough, so don't worry what it looks like at this stage. 

Transfer this to the baking sheet and pat it gently into a 6 inch (15 cm) rough round, then make a cross with the blunt side of a knife. Now scatter the Parmesan shavings over the surface, followed by a sprinkling of flour. 

Finally, spoon the olive oil into a dish, dip each sage leaf in the oil and scatter them over the bread. Now it should go into the oven on a high shelf to bake for 45-50 minutes, by which time it will be golden and crusty. 

It then needs to go on a wire rack, then either serve it still warm or re-heat it later.

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