Best November to February
What an absolute star a parsnip is – full of soft, juicy flesh and a fragrant, sweet flavour. They are lovely plain, steamed, mashed and roasted, and one of my favourite parsnip recipes is where they are baked in the oven with Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano).
I like them best after the frosts have arrived, which really does intensify their flavour. Because parsnips are stored, they tend to go a bit woody towards the end of the winter, so enjoy them at their best between November and February.
If you can, buy small, young parsnips that don't need peeling and coring; the older, larger, late-winter parsnips need the peel taken off and the cores cut out. Then cut them into even-sized pieces and steam for 10-15 minutes, and serve with plenty of salt and freshly milled black pepper and a little butter.
For roasting, prepare them in the same way, toss in a little oil and season. Place on a pre-heated roasting tray and roast in the oven pre-heated to gas mark 7, 425°F (220 C) for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the parsnips. 1 lb (450 g) of parsnips will serve 4 people.
Glazing parsnips with mustard and maple syrup gives them a whole new dimension… wonderful with any roast meats or poultry or as a vegetarian dish.
This light, fluffy puree is an unusual way of serving parsnips, but the addition of nutmeg brings a wonderful warmth and spice to it. Would be fabulous with sausages and roast meat.
Although this recipe is a great way to use up the post-Christmas parsnips and Stilton that may be hanging around, there's nothing parsimonious about it at all and it's well worth making at any time of the year.
You could make this at any time of the year, but in Delia's view autumn lamb gives the most flavourful results. Serve it with plenty of mashed potato and root veg.
Who says cooking is difficult? This quick recipe is a great way of cooking several veggies at once - and roasting them retains all the flavour and nutritional value. Wonderful with the Sunday roast!