Anyway, the other night, in the middle of the night, I was having trouble sleeping. So I tried to distract myself from worries by thinking about what I could make the next day to go with my drunken puttanesca sofrito. Something sweet and bright to go with all of that intense flavor. Of course I thought of parsnips! But what to do with them? Croquettes? Nah, just did that. Pies? Someday, but not just now. Then it came to me! Gnocchi! Nobody would ever have thought of making parsnip gnocchi, right? Well, it turns out other people have thought of it. But I still invented them! Others may have done so too, and hooray for them.
They turned out very good, as it happens. I baked them instead of boiling them, because I like the idea of gnocchi, but they can be stodgy and slimy (I’m sorry, gnocchi, but it’s true). They turned out light, crisp, flavorful and perfect with my drunken sofrito puttanesca. Although they’d also go well with romesco, or a simple tomato sauce, or pesto, or chermoula…
Here’s Parsnip Snips by Michael Hurley, a regular on the 60s Greenwhich Village folk scene, and friend of the Unholy Modal Rounders.
These would also work with pureed butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc, although you might want to alter the herbies.
2 medium-sized parnsips, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup milk
4 T butter
1 cup flour
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. white pepper
1/4 t. mustard powder
salt and pepper
1. Drop the parsnips into salted boiling water and boil for about 20 minutes, till they’re soft but not completely mushy. Purée them – you should have about 1 cup.
2. Put the milk and butter in a saucepan with the thyme, mustard and white pepper. Bring to a boil, and take off the heat and stir in the flour, all at once.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well so that they’re thoroughly mixed.
4. Stir in the parsnip puree.
5. using two teaspoons, drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet that’s been lightly greased. They’ll puff up, but they won’t flatten out like cookies, so you don’t need to leave more than about an inch between them.
6. Bake at (preheated) 400 for 20 minutes to half an hour, till they’re puffed and starting to turn golden brown.
7. Serve with the sauce of your choice!