Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Marie Huntington Cooks Dinner (or: My First Parsnip)

When I grow up, I’d like to be retired chef Marie Huntington and cook regularly in her kitchen. Or stop by for dinner and eat. And eat.

I ate my first parsnip at her home. I’ve been eyeing the parsnips in the supermarket and even added one to a recent stock, but I’d never eaten the actual root before. It was delicious, but perhaps it was the simple preparation with salt, pepper and olive oil. (What doesn’t taste good with olive oil? Ok, maybe most fruit. And ice creams, unless it is a good olive oil gelato. I digress.)

I wanted to play it cool and pretend I’d eaten parsnips before, but I blurted the truth out. No one at the table blinked an eye. Marie kindly shared the recipe, which you can find below. I look forward to making it.

I was invited to Marie’s house while I visited my friend Shasta Grant Huntington of The Lovely Nest, and her family in Indiana. I’ve been hearing stories about Marie’s cooking from Shasta, her daughter-in-law, for years.

Marie prepared an amazing dinner of Braised Lamb Shanks with Orange Gremolata; Herbed Spaetzle; Green Beans; Roasted Parsnips, Carrots and Fennel followed by Chocolate Cookies, Shortbread Cookies and Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Frosting. No dish came out of a box and almost nothing was left on our plates.

Marie, a surprisingly calm chef before dinner, and her husband shared stories about traveling around the world to meet chefs and taste the cuisine. We sipped wine and it sounded so lovely that I silently wondered if I should work in a restaurant after we move this summer. When we walked into the kitchen and dinner was laid out buffet style and hot, I wanted to ask if Marie had assistants hiding in a backroom.

Marie is a former caterer, restaurant owner, food columnist and cookbook author. You can find copies of her cookbook, Cooks and Company Collection of Recipes: A Collection of Recipes from Main Street, Indiana, on Amazon.

Roasted Parsnips, Carrots and Fennel

2 lbs parsnips, peeled, and trimmed

1 lb carrots, unpeeled, scrubbed and trimmed

1 fennel bulb, rinsed

4 Tb olive oil

1 Tb kosher salt

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 Tb minced fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425. If the parsnips and carrots are very thick, cut them in half lengthwise. Slice each one diagonally in 1" thick slices. Remove fronds from fennel, remove core, and slice in half and then again into thirds. The vegetables shrink while cooking so don't make the pieces too small. Place the cut vegetables on a sheet pan. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss well. Roast for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot. Serves 4.


huntington said...

You're leaving out the part when you completely charmed my parents, Chloe. If I kept a blog, I'd write about the amazing houseguest, Chloe Miller. . .

Chloe Yelena Miller said...

Aw, shucks! :-) Thanks, Chris. It was a lot of fun!