Heated debate in the veg packing room recently about the best way to cook and eat parsnips. The consensus was that plainly roasted parsnips can’t be beaten, but we reckon this decadent gratin recipe by Thomasina Miers is a treat worth the effort. The apple allioli condiment is of course optional.
- 750g parsnips, peeled
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
- 15g butter
- 125ml double cream
- 125ml creme fraiche
- 200ml whole milk
- 6 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 75g ground almonds
- 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive (or rapeseed) oil, to drizzle
- For the apple allioli:
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp cider vinegar
- 200ml mild olive oil
- Heat the oven to 200C/ gas 6.
- Thinly slice two-thirds of the peeled parsnips (use a mandolin if you have one) and coarsely grate the rest.
- Rub both cut sides of the garlic around a medium-sized baking dish, then smear it all over with the butter. Arrange the parsnip slices in rows over the base of the dish, overlapping slightly. Once you’ve used up all the slices, scatter the grated parsnip on top.
- In a bowl, whisk the cream, creme fraiche, milk and thyme leaves. Season with a teaspoon of salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Pour this over the parsnips, so they’re just submerged. Sprinkle the ground almonds all over the top.
- Drizzle with oil, cover the dish with foil and roast for 15 mins. Remove the foil, lower the oven to 180C (gas 4) and cook another half-hour, until the cream is absorbed, the top is golden and the parsnips tender.
- While the parsnips are roasting, make the allioli. Put the apple chunks in a small pan, cover with water, cook on medium heat for about 8 mins until the fruit is soft. Drain, transfer to a food processor with the garlic and vinegar, and whizz to a puree.
- With the motor running, start adding the oil a drop at a time, until you’ve added about a third, then increase your speed of pouring, to a trickle and then to a slow stream until you have used all the oil. Season to taste and serve in a bowl alongside the gratin.