Traditional glazed vegetables feel too polite to me: I like to introduce some sear or char to make things more interesting. This simple side dish combines the natural sweetness of parsnips with a smoky seared/charred flavor. For a fun adaptation of this recipe, try grilling the parsnips before tossing them in a skillet with the sauce. The rosemary gives this dish a fun woodsy vibe, but you could easily substitute fresh sage or thyme if you want.
2 to 4
parsnips (smaller parsnips are better, because the large ones can have fibrous cores)
Slice off the stem end of the parsnips, then peel them with a vegetable peeler. Use a mandolin or a chef knife to cut the parsnips into rectangular planks approximately 1/4-inch thick. It can be dangerous to cut a round parsnip into planks with a chef knife (if it rolls, you can cut yourself), so make your life easier by creating a flat edge: Cut a long, thin piece from the side of the parsnip and discard it. Roll the parsnip so that the flat side is facing down on the cutting board. Now, when you try to cut 1/4-inch planks, the parsnip will sit flat and you will be much less likely to cut yourself.
Set a large skillet over high heat, and add just enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. When the oil begins to lightly smoke, add the parsnips. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring regularly. You want to get a nice sear on all sides of the parsnips (a little char is ok). Do not overcrowd the skillet. Cook the parsnips in batches if you need to, adding more oil as necessary. When the parsnips are nicely seared, transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet and season them with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the skillet from the heat and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any flavorful bits from the bottom of the skillet. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook until the wine is nearly fully reduced. Add the rosemary, butter, and maple syrup. Stir to combine.
Add the parsnips back into the skillet with the sauce, and cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring regularly. The parsnips should be nicely coated with the sauce. Taste a parsnip. Adjust with more salt as necessary. Do not overcook the parsnips: They shouldn’t be too soft or mushy. They should be just cooked through, like an al dente bite of perfectly cooked pasta. When you are happy with the taste and texture of the parsnips, serve and enjoy.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.