TT Plated: Parsnips

A vegetable to root for

Many vegetables depend on sunshine for sweetness–but not the humble parsnip, which actually becomes sweeter after the first hard frost. And, in places where the ground doesn't freeze, the vegetable can be wintered over and harvested in the spring.

We know well how good the root vegetable tastes when it's roasted, mashed and puréed into soup. But chefs around the country aren't stopping there. In Chicago, we discovered parsnip ice cream, and in Atlanta, fried parsnip strips stand in for potato chips.

For a pull-out-all-the-stops treatment, do as they do in Boston, at Barbara Lynch's No. 9 Park, and make parsnip-filled agnolotti topped with julienned apple and speck ham (click here for the recipe).

Or embrace parsnips' sweet side. After all, they have more natural sugar than carrots (which they're often confused with). To that end, we developed a recipe for parsnip crème brûlée in our Test Kitchen (click here for the recipe).

We may miss the warm days of summer, but the versatile parsnip is a welcome consolation.