The second recipe in our Easter menu that came from The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee was a lovely straddling-the-seasons dish of parsnips (winter!) and mint (spring!). The spring onions that play a supporting role nudge the dish further into spring territory, too. This was the only dish (besides ham) that was served warm at our Easter dinner, and it was easy to warm up after the ham came out to rest. It was Sondra’s contribution, and a favorite of most at the table.
Roasted Parsnips with Mint
2 pounds parsnips or other sturdy root vegetables such as turnips or rutabagas, trimmed
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch scallions, (6 to 8), roots trimmed, white and green parts cut into 3-inch lengths
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped mint
Heat the oven to 400.
Peel the parsnips and cut them into 2- to 3-inch long segments. Slice each piece lengthwise to make rods that are roughly 1/3 inch in diameter. (If using turnips or rutabagas, slice them crosswise into disks 1/3 inch thick, then cut them into pieces about 2 to 3 inches long and 1/3 inch wide.) Place the parsnips in a large baking pan, and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper. Toss to combine. Roast, turning occasionally and adding the scallion after 15 minutes, until the parsnips are nicely browned and cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes.
While the vegetables roast, make the mint dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil with the vinegar, shallot, garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the mint.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a serving platter, spoon the dressing evenly over them, and serve.