Warm Winter Roots and Purées

Photo by Ian McCausland

This is a great dish for fall, when the farmer’s markets are full of multi-coloured carrots, beets, cauliflower, and potatoes. Serving suggestions: top the purées with contrasting textures like lightly toasted pine nuts, puffed or crispy quinoa, and seeds. Dress up your presentation with edible flowers, crispy kale chips, or the greens from the carrots.

Cauliflower Purée

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut in 2” pieces
6 fat garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons za’atar
1–2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 475°F. Toss cauliflower and garlic cloves with olive oil, and salt. Spread in a single layer onto a cookie sheet, cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the foil and toss the cauliflower and garlic to prevent it from sticking. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes, periodically tossing the veg.

Poke the cauliflower with a fork to make sure it’s cooked through. Remove cauliflower and garlic from the oven and place in a food processor. Add lemon juice, za’atar, and parsley and purée until smooth.

As an alternative, nix the garlic and roast the cauliflower with oil, salt, and pepper. In the food processor, add 2 tsp garam masala, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp minced cilantro.

Parsnip and Apple Purée

1 parsnip, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp chives, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a medium saucepan, cover parsnip and apple dice with 1-inch of water and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes until fork tender. Reserve 2 tbsp of cooking liquid before straining. Return the apples and parsnips to the saucepan and add the reserved liquid, butter, stirring to melt butter. Add cinnamon,
coriander and ginger. Purée with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Carrots with Tops

To roast carrots with the greens, pre-heat oven to 400°F. Scrub the carrots with a vegetable brush and pat dry. Place the carrots on a baking sheet. Wrap the greens in parchment or foil to protect them from burning. Toss the carrots (not the greens) in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35¬–40 minutes until fork tender.

Roasted Beet Sticks with Goats Cheese and Pistachios

2 medium beets
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup soft goat cheese
1/3 cup pistachios, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel the beets and slice them into sticks (use gloves to prevent purple fingers). Toss the beets in olive oil and 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Place on foil ion a cookie sheet. Place another piece of foil over the beets and seal the edges into a pouch. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Carefully remove the top piece of oil. Watch for steam! Raise the temp on the oven to 400°F and return the beets to the oven for another 35 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan to prevent sticking.

Serve beet sticks on a bed of goat cheese and top with chopped pistachios.

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