Fad or Fab?
Food fads – love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s always one making the rounds. Pomegranates seem to be the current “cool kid” and sometimes get put in recipes just for the sake of it. Don’t get me wrong; they’re deserving of the attention but sometimes make it onto the ingredient list just for the pazzazz factor.
Okay, I’m not going to lie to you. I became as guilty as the next fad follower when I decided to put pomegranate in this dish. But, in my defense, once I’d thought up the combination, it seemed like parsnips and pomegranates should have always come together in one pretty little dish.
Butter fried parsnips in and of themselves are hardly a fad. Instead, it seems like everyone’s grandmother made these for them as kids. Mine didn’t, but I quickly latched on to them once I got cooking for myself. I was also tempted to make a creamy parsnip soup – another favorite standby for using up these mildly sweet root vegetables – and drizzle it with the pomegranate reduction. That idea might be worth a try still one of these wintery days.
Since both parsnips and pomegranates are rather traditional Christmas fare in some parts of the world, going as far back as Roman times, I think I can safely say this dish has the potential to be a keeper and not just another one that will go out the window when the next “cool kid” ingredient shows up on the menu.
BUTTER FRIED PARSNIPS with POMEGRANATE SAUCE
A Straight from the Farm Original
2 large parsnips
½ c. flour
1 t. salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
½ t. dried marjoram or oregano
¼ t. cayenne pepper
cooking spray, butter flavor preferred
4 T. unsalted butter
1 large pomegranate
¼ c. water
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. raw sugar
dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
Scrub parsnips well and peel them very lightly. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife cut them lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices. In a large sealable bag, combine flour and seasonings, shaking to mix. Coat both sides of parsnip slices with cooking spray and place a few at a time in the bag with the seasoned flour. Toss until coated. Repeat as necessary. Set aside.
Cut pomegranate in half and scoop out a few spoonfuls of seeds and set aside. Place a strainer over a bowl and squeeze pomegranate halves over it to release as much juice as possible. Place juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer juice until reduced by half. Add water, balsamic vinegar, sugar and spices. Continue to simmer for another five minutes or until sauce begins to thicken a bit. Remove from heat and stir in reserved seeds.
Heat butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat and let it come to a sizzle. Add coated parsnip slices, browning on one side and then the other for about 3 minutes each. Turn the heat down to low and cover, cooking until parsnip is fork-tender, about 4 or 5 minutes longer.
To serve, place fried parsnip on a platter and spoon pomegranate sauce over top. Best if served immediately.