Winter and root vegetables – there’s almost no getting away from this combination.
Mashed, boiled or roasted winter favourites like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes not only make excellent comfort foods, they will keep you well-nourished as well.
Unlike fast food alternatives, they are nutritious carbohydrate choices rich in fibre and protective antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta carotene (a precursor of vitamin A). They’re also good sources of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin that’s needed to form healthy new cells.
Root vegetables don’t always have to be a rustic addition on your plate, though. If you want to try something a little more elegant this lovely tart will fit the bill nicely.
The classic tarte tatin is, of course, a simple tart made by topping puff pastry with with apples that have been caramelised before you bake it. But it works just as well as a savoury, where roasting the vegetables first brings out their colour and flavour.
1. Oil a 23cm loose bottom cake tin and pre heat oven to 180c.
2. Peel the parsnips and slice them into .5cm thick slices, lay them on a greased baking tray and brush with oil. Cook for about 20mins until just soft.
3. Meanwhile mix together the ricotta, yoghurt and herbs, seasoning to taste. Roll out the pastry and cut a circle about 1.5cm bigger than the tin.
4. When the parsnips are cooked lay half of them in the tin, trimming where necessary to fit the tin with the thick ends at the edge of the tin (you’ll be making a kind of fan pattern as you go).
5. Cover with half the ricotta mixture, then lay on the rest of the parsnips, another layer of ricotta and then top with the pastry tucking the excess down into the edge of the tin. bake for 30minutes, cool for 10minutes and then turn out onto a plate with the pastry on top. Serve with a crisp winter salad of chicory and watercress.
Love your parsnips
Parsnips are a member of the umbellifer family so related to carrots, fennel and celeriac.
They are low in calories, fat and salt and although they are as sweet like bananas and grapes they are also is rich in several health benefiting phyto-nutrients.
Fresh roots are a good source of vitamins A, C , E and K along with many B complex vitamins such as folic acid, B6, thiamin and pantothenic acid. They are also an excellent source of copper, potassium and magnesium and contain small amounts of calcium, iron, selenium and zinc.
Just 100g (3 oz) of parsnips contain 13% fibre – nearly half your daily requirement – which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, obesity and constipation. Parsnips also contain several antioxidants known to have anti inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-cancer functions.
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