We never had parsnips when we were kids. Nor rutabagas. And those two words are probably the funnest veggie words to say. So I'd say that I was deprived.
Not so much for rutabagas. When I did try them a few years ago, I decided I could take them or leave them. But parsnips were a real surprise. Roasted, they were surprisingly sweet. But it has been awhile, so I thought I'd try them again along with this vegetable variety I'm working through.
I got some ideas from a roasting recipe in my Cook's Illustrated, but since I didn't have all the ingredients, I just made something up with what I had. I tossed peeled and cut-up parsnips in some canola oil along with cut-up onions and celery. I seasoned it with salt and just a little something green; it might have been Italian seasoning or herbs de Provence. My idea was that I would toss in some hot chicken chunks after it was roasted to make a main dish out of it.
I've discovered the key to roasting vegetables in the oven is high, high heat, and a pre-heated cookie sheet. I love that sizzling sound when I strew the oily vegetables onto the 500 degree cookie sheet! Then I pop it back in the oven and cook it for about 20-25 minutes, without stirring.
Well, lo and behold, when I looked for those chicken pieces in the 'fridge, they weren't there any more! Thinking fast, I shredded up a wad of dill Havarti cheese, and when the vegetables came out of the oven, I put them in the serving bowl and piled the cheese on top. It melted down into the veggies ever so nicely, and I think the result was even better than it would have been with chicken!
One piece of 'nip that I ate seemed a little bitter, but the rest was fine. So maybe some parsnips turn out more bitter, just like some jalapenos are more fiery than their bin-mates. So if you ever do get a bitter piece of parsnip, don't let that turn you off this sweet and creamy root vegetable!