Good Food Blog
Hidden charmsPosted at 11:40AM, 06 November 2008 by Mary Cadogan - Food writer
Shopping in the market this morning, it occurred to me that winter veg are an ugly crew. Gnarled old celeriac, thick-skinned parsnips and tough looking turnips do not have the come-and-buy-me appeal of, say, a pile of polished red peppers, or a beautifully tied bunch of asparagus.
But maybe in these cash-strapped times we should look again at these taken-for-granted veggies and give them more credit for the wonderfully rich, earthy flavours they give to warming winter dishes, as well as the smaller hole they make in our pockets.
Coarsely grated celeriac tossed in some mustardy mayonnaise makes a fab winter salad to have with ham or any charcuterie. And have you ever tried shredding the much maligned Brussels sprout? Mix it with some grated carrot, a handful of chopped nuts and apple and moisten with a little honey and mustard dressing - it's sweet, crunchy, truly yummy and packed with vitamins.
The thing about Brussels is they don't much like water
The thing about Brussels is that they don't much like water. Steam them, stir fry them or cook them in just a small amount of water so they don't get waterlogged and you'll be rewarded with sweet tasting vegetables with no nasty kitchen smells.
Parsnips make great oven chips. Simply cut into sticks, parboil for a few minutes, then toss in a little olive oil and cook in a hot oven for half an hour. The same treatment works with carrots or celeriac.
Mash is an essential winter staple. Try it half-and-half with any of the ugly brigade, especially the oft overlooked swede. I hated swede as a child, but these days, when the weather turns spiteful, it's in my top ten of comfort foods. My latest trick is to fold a whisked egg white into my mash and bake it with a sprinkling of cheese for a lovely puffy finish.
I'm sure you've got some great ideas for cooking with winter veggies, so do share.