Part of growing with my blog and keeping myself interested and not overwhelmed by endless culinary technique is to keep learning myself. Today I learnt the art of the Parsnip Puree.
Parsnip is a root vegetable, closely related to the carrot. It’s creamy, rich and woody in flavour. It’s really complementary with meat and seafood and a perfect way to welcome winter eating.
The key to a perfect parsnip puree is to remove the woody core, which I had overlooked for a very long time. I didn’t even notice there was a core in parsnip, but it came out quite easy. By removing, you stop the puree from being grainy.
The hero of this dish is the Creole style battered flathead. Flathead is a firm, meaty fish without an overly fishy flavour, perfect for battering. Some people would argue that a battered flathead should be flathead in flour and lightly cooked in olive oil, and this is perfectly fine also. The idea of my heav(ier) batter was to pair this with the Creole seasoning, an ode to the warmth and opulence of the Deep South. Finishing the dish with fresh lemon really lightens the meal, however.
Yields 2 servings
2 large parsnips
1 cup chicken stock
¼ brown onion
4 tbsp butter
1 garlic love
2 – 3 tbsp thick cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Creole Battered Flathead
4 flathead fillets
2 tbsp Creole spice mix
¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup ice cold water
½ tsp baking soda (as recommended by Rick Stein)
¾ cup olive oil
Fresh corn, char grilled
Start by cutting each parsnip in 2 halves. Starting from the bottom, with your hands and a knife, remove the core. Finish by cutting into quarters.
Sauté onions and garlic in half the butter, until just softened. Add the chicken stock and parsnips, cooking for 10-15 minutes, or until soft. In a pulsar or blender, add the parsnip and reduced stock with the remaining butter and cream.
In the hot pan, wilt spinach until a dark, emerald green. Add to pulsar and blend until soft and creamy.
In a separate pan, or on a grill, cook corn rubbed in olive oil. Do not turn often, as the corn needs to char. Once evenly cooked and charred, using a knife, shave downwards, taking off corn kernels.
Coat each flathead fillet lightly in flour. Combine flour, water, Creole spice mix and baking soda, mixing well. Coat fillets in batter and cook in heated olive oil on medium to high heat. Depending on the fillets, they do not need to be cooked for too long.
Rest for a minute on paper towels and serve immediately to keep the crunch.
To plate, smear puree on plate, topping with corn kernels. Serve with battered flat head and finish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.