Mmmm, fries. What is not to love about a crispy golden fried starchy vegetable? Aside from the fact that I’m phobic about deep fat frying. Nope, I’m not scared of the fat, just the frying part. You know, the part where I envision myself accidentally immolating myself and exploding my house in an action-movie-esque scene of destruction. Without the hot guy to save me. Oops.
What do you mean, I over think things?!
Parsnip Fries: how I learned to love them
So given my frying fears and the fact that I’m never going to buy a giant thing like an electric deep fat fryer (whose kitchens have ROOM for stuff like that?), I have to make do with baked fries. Plus, since I have no idea if anyone has finally figured out the answer to “are potatoes Paleo?” or not, I tend not to eat them unless as part of a treat meal. To cause even more superficial problems, Mr Meatified won’t eat a sweet potato unless it’s white. Yes, he refuses to eat orange ‘taters. Around here, those are sometimes pretty difficult for me to find, so I came up with using parsnips instead. It’s actually a glorious idea, as the natural sweetness of the parsnips is delicious, but nowhere near as overwhelming as in the standard sweet potato fry. I even sold Mr Meatified on the idea of eating a parsnip at all this way. However, the first few times I made parsnip fries, I loved the flavor – but the texture was missing. They always came out a little soft. I wanted more crispiness! Which is when my occasional friend Arrowroot Powder came in! While Arrowroot can be used as a thickener in place of (ick-filled) corn starch powder, it also does something awesome here. It absorbs some of the liquid that cooks out of the parsnips and helps to form a coating on the outside along with the seasonings that makes the parsnip fries crisp up more evenly. Win!
How to cut shoestring Parsnip Fries
Since I was only cutting up 3 large parsnips, I cut my parsnip fries by hand. You could also try using the julienne slicer on a mandoline – I keep forgetting to test that out! If you do, be sure to let me know if and how it worked! Quicker is always better, that’s for sure.
Here’s how I cut mine. After peeling and removing the ends of the parsnips, I cut them in half so there were two differently sized pieces: the thicker top end and the thinner / tapered bottom end. For the thicker end pieces, I cut those into quarters. That way it was easy to cut the hard core out of the middle, the same way as you would when cutting a fresh pineapple. Removing the core creates a flat surface so that you can lay the parsnip pieces down on the chopping board and slice them lengthways. If they are too thick, just cut those slices in half again. For the thinner end pieces, I cut a very fine slice from one side lengthwise. That made a flat surface I could use to steady the parsnip as I cut it lengthways into 3 – 5 slices, depending on thickness. Then, again, chop those slices lengthwise to get your fry shapes. Done!
Has anybody here tried deep frying parsnip fries? Please leave me a comment if so, I would love to hear how they turned out! One last word of advice: make sure to check your parsnip fries a little before the flipping stage and just before they are supposed to come out of the oven – the ends can blacken quickly!
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking tray and set aside.
- Peel the parsnips and remove the ends. Cut the parsnips in half widthwise so that you have two pieces: the thicker top end and the thinner bottom end.
- For the bottom end pieces, cut them lengthwise into about 4 pieces, then again lengthwise to make fry shaped pieces.
- For the top end pieces: cut into quarters. Remove the hard middle core and discard (but keep for making stock!). Slice each quarter in half lengthwise before cutting into fry shaped pieces.
- In a large bowl, add the parsnip fries and the duck fat or coconut oil. Toss to coat.
- In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder, oregano, garlic powder and black pepper. Mix to combine evenly. Sprinkle the mixture over the parsnips, tossing to coat.
- Spread the parsnips out on the lined baking tray.
- Place the fries in the oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until they begin to brown at the edges. Flip the fries and return them to the oven, cooking for another 5 - 10 minutes, until brown and done.
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