Courtesy Aaron Adams, chef/owner, Farm Spirit, Portland, Oregon
- 8 large parsnips, trimmed and peeled
- 2 bunches fresh thyme, leaves picked from stems
- 5 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
- Salt, to taste
- 2 cups applesauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 350˚F. With mandoline or a U-shaped vegetable peeler, slice parsnips into paper-thin strips lengthwise. Lay strips in one layer on cookie sheet. Salt well, then layer more parsnips on top, continuing until all parsnips are stacked. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Fill large bowl with water. Add parsnip slices. Agitate strips to remove excess salt. Remove from water. Pat dry with paper towels.
Lay slice of parsnip on a cutting board. Sprinkle with thyme, and roll into tight cylinder. Add slices to spiral by laying slice down, sprinkle with thyme, then continue where previous slice ended. Continue until you have 8 spirals, about 2.5 inches in diameter.
Carefully tie each parcel around circumference with kitchen twine, cinching lightly to keep together. They should look like flowers or pinwheels.
Grease a small casserole dish with 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil. Ladle in some applesauce. Add parsnips in single layer, adding additional applesauce (if needed) so sauce comes about halfway up sides. Brush spirals gently with olive oil. Sprinkle with any remaining thyme.
Wrap casserole pan in foil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until parsnips are tender. Remove foil, and cook until lightly browned, about 5–10 minutes. Serve parsnips on platter, spooning some of the applesauce around, or in baking dish. Serves 4.
The subtle sweetness of roasted parsnip partnered with the applesauce will call for a cleansing wine that lifts the dish’s baked flavors. Consider a blanc de blancs Champagne like this one, with zesty citrus and green-apple flavors, subtle toastiness and a pleasant minerality that will marry with the pinwheels.