Seasonal local food recipe No 73: Parsnips baked with Cornish Yarg cheese


Nigel Slater (sorry, it’s him again!) describes this as a ‘shallow cake along the lines of a pan haggerty, made with thin slices of root layered with grated cheese and herbs’ (Tender Volume I). He suggests using Cornish Yarg cheese – the one coated with stinging nettle leaves.

Serves 2 as a main, with winter salad as a side

Preparation: about an hour, including cooking

a large onion
75g butter
2 large parsnips
leaves from 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
100g cheese – Cornish Yarg or Gruyere
100ml vegetable stock

Set the oven at 200C/Gas 6. Peel the onion and cut into paper-thin rings. Melt half the butter in a shallow ovenproof pan and gently fry the onion till soft and translucent. Stop before it colours.

Peel the parsnips and slice in fine discs – ‘so thin you can almost read through them’. Tip the onion out of the pan, place a layer or two of parsnips in it, brush with more melted butter and scatter over salt, pepper, some of the thyme and a little of the cheese. Do this twice more, ending with cheese. Pour over the stock.

Cover with lightly buttered greaseproof paper or foil, then place on a high shelf in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the paper and test the parsnips with a sharp knife; it should glide in effortlessly. Return to the oven, uncovered, for about ten minutes to brown. Serve straight from the pan.

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