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Cooking with Michel: Spring Parsnip Soup

 
Michel Nischan's latest cookbook is perfect for anyone looking for inspirational ways to cook with the seasons

Michel Nischan's latest cookbook is perfect for anyone looking for simple yet inspirational ways to cook with local, seasonal ingredients.

Have you seen the beautiful spring parsnips at the farmers’ markets? I bought some last Saturday from Riverbank Farm at the Fairfield Indoor Winter Farmers’ Market (it runs through May 13) and have been thinking about making parsnip puree after scoring hits with pureed butternut squash from my winter CSA.

But then chef/author Michel Nischan’s beautiful and timely new cookbook, Sustainably Delicious, arrived in the mail. After a quick look I knew those parsnips were destined for soup.

Michel’s latest cookbook is dedicated to sustainable cuisine – food that’s sourced locally, produced sustainably, and eaten in season. That just the kind of food we should all endeavor to eat as much as possible.

Split the parsnips lengthwise and roast until lightly caramelized and tender.

Split the parsnips lengthwise and roast until lightly caramelized and tender.

Sustainably Delicious contains a recipe for parsnip soup that is so simple that I chose to add it to an already planned dinner menu without concern that it would throw off my schedule. All that’s required to make this soup is parsnips, yogurt, sour cream and tarragon plus a few basic cooking skills and utensils. Bet you thought you needed vegetable or chicken stock!

Oven roasted parsnips are sweet, creamy and packed with flavor.

Oven roasted parsnips are sweet, creamy and packed with flavor.

Oven roasting parsnips converts them into creamy, sweet and slightly caramelized beauties that bear no resemblance to their raw selves. Michel recommends cutting up and simmering half the roasted parsnips briefly in water before pureeing the mixture to form the soup base, then dicing and adding the remaining half before finishing with yogurt, sour cream and tarragon.The recipe worked beautifully and I was amazed at how little salt and pepper I had to add to get it just right.

Spring Parsnip Soup, a simple yet extremely flavorful dish from Sustainably Delicious.

Spring Parsnip Soup, a simple yet extremely flavorful dish from Sustainably Delicious.

I served the parsnip soup as a first course to allow it to take center stage and make the meal into something a bit more special. The soup drew rave reviews: “This is so sweet; did you add sugar?” “This is awesome!” “This is a taste of the promise of spring.” Oh my, I think I’ll have to make this again soon. It’s a keeper. Happy eaters are all the inspiration I need to try out a few more recipes, so look for additional “Cooking with Michel” posts soon.

Sustainably Delicious goes on sale April 13. Michel will be at a book signing on April 12 in NYC at Borders at 7pm at the Time Warner Building and at Fresh on Broadway and 18th street on April 22, Earth Day, from noon to 4:00pm. Click here for a complete event listing.

About Michel Nischan:

Michel Nischan is a well-known pioneer in the local-sustainable food movement and award-winning author of  two previous cookbooks that share his passion for cooking with seasonal foods for maximum flavor, nutrition, and enjoyment. Michel co-founded The Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant with Paul Newman at the Westport Country Playhouse, and is the Founder, President & CEO of Wholesome Wave Foundation, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to make locally-grown, healthy and sustainable foods available to all.

Last year I had the privilege of accompanying Mercy Learning center students on a field trip to one of the mobile farms stands Wholesome Wave established in Bridgeport as part of their “Nourishing Neighborhoods” Double Value Coupon Program. Wholesome Wave programs are currently underway in 12 states, the District of Columbia and in more than 80 markets. Miami recently established the State of Florida’s first urban farmer’s market, Roots in the City Farmers Market, thanks to Wholesome Wave Foundation and local partners, and a dedication ceremony is planned for April 7.

 
 
 

4 Comments

  1. Marianne Mione says:

    Dear Analiese,
    What a great article! I hope Michel Nischan appreciates how you are plugging his book. The photos (which look like you took them- the bowl is yours) really add greatly to this piece. Photos are so helpful!
    Love, Mom

    • admin says:

      I’m having a great time doing it! People really want to know how to cook with local, seasonal ingredients so I’m helping the consumer by telling them about his cookbook. At the FTC farmers’ market today, I ran into a few friends and convinced them to make the soup with organic, spring parsnips bought straight from the farmer who had harvested them this morning.

  2. Michel says:

    Hey Analiese!

    WOW!. Over the top and very greatly appreciated!! Spring dug parsnips are my very favorite thing, and something not many folks know about. We are very grateful for your wonderful comments and for your mentioning our work with Wholesome Wave.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    Michel

    • admin says:

      Michel, you are so welcome and thanks so much for commenting. I love, love, love this soup and made it again for Easter with Greek-style yogurt from Ladies of Levita Road. I had my guests taste it just roasted from the oven and they all said “candy”! Thanks for showing us how fun and delicious it is to eat locally and seasonally and how rewarding it is for the cook.

 
 

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