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Unusual Roots

December 14, 2012

roots of parsley and chervil

Well, what do you know?  It’s been exactly one year since I posted on this here blog.  I’m still in Paris, still getting my panier every week, and still love to cook.  But I’m afraid the format here had gotten a bit stale.  I mean, there are only so many photos one can take of lettuce, leeks, potatoes, apples, carrots, and eggs. (Just out of curiosity, I looked through the tags and those are by far the most often written about here, with 48, 35, 61, 55, 40, and 80 posts, respectively.)  And only so many things to write about said ingredients, week after week.

So I’m shifting gears a little bit.  We’ll skip the bajillion poorly-lit pictures of potatoes, etc. and focus on the more esoteric and interesting seasonal vegetables that come my way, either via the panier, the market, or La Ruche Qui Dit Oui.  What’s that last one, you ask?  It’s an organization that works to link local producers with consumers.  There are ruches, or hives (as in beehives), scattered throughout France.  You sign up online for the one nearest you, and when they’re going to have a sale (about every two weeks or so) you get an email.  Then you go to the website, choose your products, and pay.  The day before pickup, they email you again with the list of things you’ve bought, and you go and pick them up.  It’s a really cool idea, and I’ve gotten some great deals on flour, honey, and even a Christmas tree!  The cheeses I’ve tried from them were both stellar, and I love knowing that none of it has had to travel very far to get to my table.  At the last sale, I picked up a small bag of chervil root – they’re the smaller, darker ones in the above photo – which I’m excited to try.

The bigger, parsnip-looking things next to the chervil root are parsley root.  They are one of my favorite oddball winter vegetables, because they are so unexpected.  Who would have thought that parsley had such a big root?  Or that it was so tasty, like an herby, vegetal parsnip?  I think the two roots will make a fine combination, peeled, sautéed, and dressed in a fennel-herb dressing that I got from Frank Camorra’s book Movida.  His recipe for zanahorias aliñadas has long fascinated me, and I finally made it a couple of weeks ago, substituting sautéed carrots and parsnips for the boiled carrots he calls for.  But oh, that dressing is a winner: a tablespoon of toasted fennel seeds, a teaspoon of dried oregano, a small handful of chopped fresh mint and parsley, a minced clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, two tablespoons of sherry vinegar, three or four of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix it all together and pour it over the vegetables in the hot pan when they’re done cooking, and serve hot or at room temperature.  I’m hard pressed to think of a root vegetable this wouldn’t be great with.  And I expect to use this dressing often, all winter long.

Originally published on Seasonal Market Menus.

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5 Comments
  1. December 14, 2012 7:39 pm

    Glad to see you back on your horse Camille. I’ve missed your posts..
    Thanks for the dressing recipe.. I intend on trying it tonight (in California)
    PS.. It’s colder here today than in Paris! Z

  2. December 14, 2012 7:50 pm

    Marie – Thanks! And I hope you love the dressing as much as I do – I think it’s fabulous stuff!
    p.s. Colder, maybe, but was it as nasty and windy and rainy as Paris? ;)

    • December 14, 2012 8:00 pm

      Not rainy or nasty at all…. just cold, and the stars are amazing during these times!

  3. December 15, 2012 4:26 am

    Yes, lovely to see you back. I can see that you might have become a little bored with the format, but I always loved peeking into your Parisian shopping basket! What interesting roots you found. I didn’t know you could eat either of these- would love to see the outcome of your experiments, and hear how they were. Interesting that you’ve found Movida over there. Movida is of course a fabulous restaurant in Melbourne, I had lunch there once it was sensational. Actually it’s a bit of a stable of restaurants now. Frank Cammora has two recipes for cold summer soups in the Sydney Morning Herald today, I’m planning on making at least one- an intriguing variation on a cucumber/yoghurt soup where he cooks the cucumbers first.

  4. December 20, 2012 8:54 pm

    Louise – The main reason I stopped was being way too busy at work, but I also felt this blog was in a bit of a rut. Hoping to revive it because I believe seasonal eating is so important!

    The herb roots were delicious in the dressing – I’ve had parsley roots before, but the chervil roots were new to me, and lovely. They had a subtle herbal flavor and a satisfying, potato-y texture.

    The Movida book was indeed a random find. I got it at a factory-second bookshop, translated into French. I thought it was really funny to buy a book about Spanish cooking, written in Australia, translated into French – what a long way those recipes have traveled! :)

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