One of the things I like most about subscription to our CSA box is that occasionally we’ll get veggies that I’ve never tasted or even seen before. it was through these means that Sunchokes, agretti (a relative of the tumbleweed family!), and nettles were introduced into our lives–despite their wild-west heritage, agretti are delicious and I liked sunchokes so much I actually sought them out at the Farmer’s market once, nettles I can live without, or maybe I prepared them incorrectly.
Another more common produce item which I’d just not experienced before was parsnip. Parsnips are not super-prevalent here in the US and indeed, the only place I’ve ever even seen them sold is the farmer’s market. Apparently this is because of how difficult they are to grow and store. That said, they are delicious and if you’ve never had them before, imagine something starchy like a potato, but sweet like a carrot. Parsnips are downright heavenly when roasted in the oven, and drizzled with maple syrup, giving them a brittle, carmel-like glaze:
Roasted parsnips with Maple Syrup (Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine & the Two Small farms recipe page)
2-4 parsnips, peeled and quartered–parsnips should be white, firm and not spongy inside.
salt and pepper to taste
pre-heat oven to 400F. line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and spread out the parsnips out. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss briefly and arrange in a single layer (do not allow to overlap or touch, they will not carmelize correctly). put in oven for 45 minutes, until the parsnips begin to brown at the edges. Remove from oven and drizzle 1/2-1 teaspoon maple syrup onto each parsnip piece. put back in oven for about 15 more minutes. Maple syrup will reduce and turn into a brittle-like candy on the outside and bottom of each parsnip. peel off the aluminum foil and eat, or serve.