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Help! Difference in taste between Parsnips & Turnips

rachel12 Nov 3, 2007 01:00 PM

For Thanksgiving I want to make a gratin with shaved truffles. I know I need to use a mild vegetable and cheese so as not to overwhelm the yummy truffles, but I have very little experience with celery root, turnips, and parsnips. Any help in describing flavor profiles and baking textures would be of great help. Cheese suggestions are also welcome!!

Thanks guys!

  1. r
    rachel12 Nov 3, 2007 03:34 PM

    So I found a Patricia Wells recipe with turnips. It sounds wonderful, but I'm worried that the flavor of the turnips might be too strong?

    2 Replies
    1. re: rachel12
      pikawicca Nov 3, 2007 03:44 PM

      Don't buy large or wrinkled ones. Smallest and freshest is best. This is a vegetable that's best fresh from a farmers' market.

      1. re: rachel12
        WCchopper Nov 3, 2007 04:47 PM

        Parsnips taste (in my opinion) like sweeter, spicier, roasted carrots, and turnips are similar to radishes, peppery and a little bitter.

      2. C. Hamster Nov 3, 2007 01:31 PM

        Turnips have a very distict taste that may not be the best partner with truffles. Seems to me you want a blander background pallette for the truffles. Parsnips are milder and sweeter.

        I also agree with MMRuth that potatoes would work, as well. Fontina would be a nice choice of cheese, too. A young asiago might work too.

        6 Replies
        1. re: C. Hamster
          MMRuth Nov 3, 2007 02:03 PM

          I don't think I've ever had a turnip - based on your description, I think the parsnips would be a good choice.

          1. re: MMRuth
            pikawicca Nov 3, 2007 02:21 PM

            Never had a turnip?!? Oh my, you're missing something, especially rutabagas mashed with butter, salt and lots of pepper. Then, there's the old Joy of Cooking's Turnip Souffle. Roasted turnips get all sweet and crispy. Turnips cut up in winter stews add delicious flavor. Little baby spring turnips, steamed and served on a bed of their stir-fried greens makes a lovely light lunch. Old, over-cooked turnips are nasty, but I suspect you have plenty of cookbooks with great recipes for these veggies. Please give them a try, MM.

            1. re: pikawicca
              MMRuth Nov 3, 2007 02:25 PM

              Thanks! I will. I like most vegetables, but there are some I've not tried - though I'm working on it - most recently beets, which I like!

              1. re: MMRuth
                pikawicca Nov 3, 2007 03:14 PM

                I love beets, too, but my family has forbidden me to cook them ever again! Not only do they not like the taste, they hate the smell. I eat them at restaurants whenever I find them. Had a great beet/beef soup at a local soup tasting today. Post when you try some turnips.

                1. re: pikawicca
                  MMRuth Nov 3, 2007 03:17 PM

                  My husband said that he disliked beets, but when I started roasting them, and serving them as part of Suzanne Goin's recipes (he now calls her "my gal" after the Wells debacle), he likes them.

              2. re: pikawicca
                Euonymous Nov 3, 2007 03:50 PM

                I once had some friends over for a pot roast dinner, accompanied by parsleyed new potatoes and onions, carrots, and turnips that had been cooked in with the roast. Before dinner I asked them how they felt about turnips. Most said, "Yuck, I hate them!"

                During dinner they asked me what that delicious white stuff in the vegetable dish was. Heh!

          2. MMRuth Nov 3, 2007 01:26 PM

            I actually would just use potatoes, and maybe some fontina.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MMRuth
              rachel12 Nov 3, 2007 01:29 PM

              Mashed potatoes are a staple in my family, if I ever made something to replace/compete with them I would be banished from the kitchen! But thanks for the suggestion.

              In regards to the parsnip and turnips, are turnips are more savory root vegetable? And which of the three contains the least water content? I hadn't even thought of the moisture issue!

            2. pikawicca Nov 3, 2007 01:14 PM

              Parsnips would be lovely. They have a nice sweetness to them, and lack the peppery bite of turnips and the tendency to get a little watery when cooked like celeriac. I love all of these root vegetables, and frequently cut them up and roast them together, tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

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