Pan-fried Parsnip Petals & Asparagus Coins


Parsnips don't have the high-beam brightness of carrots, or even the easy blandness of potatoes. Asparagus causes that funny reaction that lettuce would never dare. I think it's fair to say Snow White would eat sunny vegetables, like tomatoes and corn. The seven dwarves -- being woodsy and strange -- would eat parsnips and asparagus. 

In this dish, the parsnips partially drape and caramelize and crisp into something reminiscent of chestnuts and omelets. The asparagus adds a green, sulfuric one-two punch. This would make a splendid brunch dish with other endearingly awkward foods, like Weetabix or toasted zucchini bread.

Recipe: Slice 4 parsnips with a mandolin. Dice 5 asparagus spears. Pan-fry over medium-high heat with one tablespoon olive oil. Add salt to taste, season with red pepper flakes for a spicy contrast, or toasted hazelnuts for a nutty/sweet echo. Serves 2.