Hashed root veggies

January 22, 2008 at 11:23 pm (breakfast, My brain, Root vegetables, Starches, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

I love my mom’s recipe for hash brown “omelets”, so when I was staring at the 3 sad parsnips languishing in my vegetable drawer I decided to try making a parsnip hash brown. I added 2 tsp. of olive oil to my cast iron skillet, let it warm up, then dropped in the grated parsnips and distributed them evenly around the pan. When the parsnips were starting to brown I tried to flip the pancake, but it didn’t hold together at all. Maybe parsnips don’t have enough starch, and I should have added a bit of arrowroot or besan? In any case, the parsnips browned nicely and tasted surprisingly similar to potato hashbrowns, except with a parsnip-flavor undertone. I sprinkled on a little nutmeg, which went nicely with the parsnip flavors. I also tried it with ketchup, which wasn’t bad, but it didn’t go as well as with potatoes. I feel like there is some spice that would perfectly accent the parsnip flavor, but I can’t place it. Any suggestions?

A second try:  this time I added 1.5 Tbs. of chickpea flour to 5 ounces of grated parsnips (grated in the food processor this time so the pieces were thicker).  The pancake almost held together, so I think it’s possible with a bit more work on the timing and heat.  I sprinkled my pancake with salt and 1/4 tsp. thyme this time, and it tasted quite delicious–the chickpea flour made the parsnips taste more savory, almost “meaty”, and more satisfying.  I can’t quite describe the flavor but it was definitely transformed.  That chickpea flour is clearly something I need to keep playing around with, as its power to change flavor profiles is impressive.

My friend Katrina made sweet potato hash for me once, and it was similar to the parsnip hash except was more moist (she used frozen grated sweet potatoes). I bet this technique would be a nice way of preparing many root vegetables. Rutabaga hash anyone? Celeriac hash? Anyone tried them?

I was curious how the nutritional content of a parsnip compares to that of a potato with the skin (its closest culinary relative in my opinion), and to a carrot (its closest edible botanical relative).  For the same number of calories (75), they’re surprisingly similar.   All three have about 90% of their calories from carbs, although parsnips and carrots have over twice as much fiber as potatoes (5g vs 5.6g vs 2.2g) and parsnips have slightly less protein than the other two.  None have a ton of calcium (less than 6% in all cases), but all three have a decent amount of vitamin C, and some iron.  The biggest difference is that carrots have vitamin A whereas the other two do not.  I didn’t check all the vitamin and mineral content, just these four, so there might be other differences.

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