Parsnips are out there, just waiting for you to discover them. Here’s a good way to do that. I guarantee that you will be Quite Surprised by their subtle sweetness.
Parsnips come in many sizes. Try to get small or medium ones (up to 8 inches long) as the giant ones tend to have a tough inner core that doesn’t soften up too well.
This will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator, It reheats really well in a microwave.
2 pounds parsnips (about 6 medium ones, approximately 8 inches long, 2-inch diameter)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
Put up a large saucepan of water to boil.
Meanwhile, peel the parsnips, and trim and discard the ends. Chop the parsnips into 2- to 3-inch pieces.
When the water boils, add the cut parsnips, and cook them for about 10 minutes, or until very soft. Use a mesh scooper or a slotted spoon to remove them from the water (shaking out the excess) and transfer them to the work bowl of a food processor. (Remove the saucepan of water from the heat, but don’t dump it out yet.)
Add the olive oil, vinegar, and salt to the parsnips, and process until very smooth. If they seem a bit dry, add a little of their cooking water. (If you don’t have a food processor, just put everything in a bowl and mash well with a fork or a potato masher.)
Season to taste with black pepper (correcting the salt and vinegar along the way, if you so choose) and serve hot or warm.