Let it be known that I am on a crusade to elevate parsnips to mainstream status. This uniquely flavored root vegetable has a sweet herbal taste that blends terrifically with other roots. Here we pair it with potatoes. The buttermilk adds a pleasant tang, and the butter and dairy provide richness and mouth feel. Peel the potatoes if you want it to be extra-creamy, though I prefer the skins on for a more rustic, casual dish.
Serves | 8 |
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 lbs Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes
- 2 lbs parsnips, peeled
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
| Preparation | Fill a large saucepan halfway with cold water and add 2 tsp salt. Cut potatoes and parsnips into 2-inch chunks and immediately add to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes and parsnips are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. (A vigorous boil tends to break up the potatoes, so make sure they simmer.) Place butter and half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot. Remove from heat and cool mixture to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Add buttermilk.
Drain the potatoes and parsnips well and return them to the hot pan. Stir to dry them out a bit. Mash with a food mill, a potato ricer (my favorite) or a standard potato masher until smooth. Be careful not to overmash the vegetables or they could become “gluey.” Stir in the buttermilk mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Potatoes may be kept warm, covered, in the top of a double boiler for up to 2 hours. Add milk or half-and-half if needed to thin potatoes to the desired texture. Top with parsley and serve.