I am a little bit of a picky eater, and while looking through the list of ingredients we will be preparing throughout this project, there were 11 foods on the list that I have either never cooked before, or don't eat! Parsnips was the first of these. Then I browsed through a few Italian cookbooks, and never saw parsnips in any of the indexes. Hmmmmm... are there no parsnips in Italy? While I don't always cook Italian, those are the ingredients and flavors I am most familiar with, and the foods I grew up on.
I bought parsnips...LOTS of them, not having the slightest idea what to do with them, or how many I would need, OR what they tasted like. The leeks at the market looked beautiful, so I also bought three large leeks, and soon decided on a parsnip-leek soup. I began peeling and chopping the little suckers, and ended up with a mountain of chopped parsnips!
The Flavor Bible said fresh ginger, so I began my soup in a BIG pot, with some butter, garlic, ginger and the chopped leeks (white and light green parts only).
I added the mountain of parsnips and 8 cups of chicken broth. I was not excited about how my hands smelled, so I threw two peeled, cubed potatoes into the mix along with some salt. I brought the mixture to a boil and let it simmer. 20 minutes later, the parsnips and potatoes were soft, so I let the "mess" cool slightly, and then attacked it with my immersion blender. The consistency was good, but it tasted like a huge pot of NOTHING! I added salt. Now it tasted like saltier NOTHING. I added a cup of cream. You got it: SALTY, CREAMY NOTHING! Brad tasted it, and was not impressed. When it had cooled slightly, I poured the contents into a smaller pot in order to refrigerate it over night. I was done with parsnips for the day! (Picture me wrinkling my nose and saying "YUCK, who eats these things?")
If I had a rating scale between 1-10 for the food we eat, with 1 being inedible and 10 being fabulous, I would say we eat at least a 7-10 every night, even if it is a simple meal, or leftovers, or a salad. Our food TASTES good. This soup was a 2 (edible) at best.
The next day, I heated up the soup, hoping the taste had improved over night. Ixnay!
The Flavor Bible said parmesan cheese goes with parsnips. I decided to fry some chopped leeks in butter to garnish the soup for our Sunday lunch. I poured a bowl, topped it with the crunchy leeks and some shaved cheese. It LOOKED delicious...
The leeks and cheese were great, but the soup was at best a 2.5! I had a fleeting thought of adding a kilo (that's what it would take) of my stash of 30 month Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, but decided that would be blasphemous, and a huge waste of great cheese. I thought, maybe if someone was STARVING in a cold, war-torn third world country, they would like this soup. I thought, if we had a prison or other institution nearby, I could donate it, but instead...
I will NOT be cooking parsnips again any time soon. We had a delicious fritatta for our Sunday lunch. It was a 9!