In early spring, when it’s still cool enough to blast the oven, I make big batches of parsnip fries. That’s when the spicy-sweet root vegetable that looks like an irregular pale yellow carrot is at its best tender self.
The crisp, chewy, caramelized fries are amazingly satisfying with cocktails before dinner, and as a French fryish accompaniment to roast chicken, grilled beef or duck steak.
My favorite way to cook them is to cut them into long tapered sticks, slick them with olive oil or melted butter and roasted them, a dead-simple technique I learned from Anne Disrude, one of the best cooks I know.
Recipe: Parsnip Fries
3 pounds medium parsnip
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, melted butter or rendered bacon fat
Kosher or flaky sea salt
Place rack in upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375’. Peel the parsnips and cut into 4-by-1/3-inch sticks; if the core is very thick and woody, cut it out.
Place the parsnip sticks in a bowl and toss to coat with oil. Spread them in a single layer on one or two large baking sheets, making sure they don’t stick together. Roast the parsnips, tossing once or twice, until tender and browned in spots about 1 hour.
Sprinkle with salt, transfer to a platter and serve at once.