Once used as a sweetener when sugar was a scarce luxury, parsnips are now a ubiquitous part of our Christmas dinner. Cultivated in the UK for hundreds of years, they are still found wild in the Mediterranean. They’re better after a bout of frost as the cold turns the vegetable’s natural starches into sugar. Use them in cakes (think of carrot cake), roast or mash them, or try these delicious little fritters.
Crispy parsnip cakes with maple syrup glaze
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Mix 500g parsnips in a bowl with 1 grated onion, 1⁄2 tsp cayenne and 1 tbsp flour. Add 1 egg and season. Add 2 tbsp veg oil to a non- stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Once hot, drop tablespoon sized blobs of parsnip mix into the pan. Flatten with a palette knife into a thin cake and fry for about 4 minutes, or until golden and set, then turn over and continue to cook for another 4 minutes. Once cooked, transfer them to a non-stick baking sheet, drizzle with maple syrup and keep warm in the oven while you continue to fry the remaining parsnip mixture. Add more oil as needed. Serve while hot.