Protection with Meyer Lemon Parsnip Puree

It feels a little odd to wax poetically about fluffy parsnip puree in the presence of Meyer lemons right now. It’s a little precious. A little too perfect. Certainly the opposite of how I’ve been feeling lately. I’ve been a tad cranky.

Impervious also comes to mind. I’ve been listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock” on repeat. A lot. I’ve been unmoved at the sight of my tulips peaking up from the earth. (Which is odd, considering the deep, dark winter we’ve had.) Truthfully, I think I’m just exhausted from life at the moment.

Luckily, this dish came along and brightened my spirits a bit. It’s full of hope: scallops resting on clouds of parsnips. You may have noticed the recipe title lists the parsnips before the scallops. In a world where the scallop is king, here he’s almost more of a condiment. Though the scallops’ sweetness really elevates the dish and I think it would be a mistake to forgo them, it’s the parsnip that is the true star.

If you are lucky enough to find a farmer that has been keeping his parsnips all winter, you’ll perhaps find that they are unusually delicious; parsnips that have been sulking underground in the cold get sweeter when picked during the last days of winter or beginning whispers of spring. (One can only hope the same will soon be true for me.)

A tad skeptical on the pleasures of parsnips? It’s never a bad idea to invest in a little decadence. The addition of heavy cream, a vinegar syrup reduction, and a dose of floral Myer lemon may very well change your mind.

Or it could be that you’ve never had parsnips the way chef Jeremy Sewall intended. I was lucky to attend a dinner talk hosted by Island Creek Oyster Bar where he served this fantastic dish. He also had some gnocchi tossed in this recipe, but right now I know my limits. A mercurial temperament and dough associated with carefree lightness do not mix. I had to fill in some holes in the recipe (and sadly part with the gnocchi portion), but I think the dish came close to my first tasting of it at the talk.

Add a glass of muscadet (or perhaps a few swigs straight from the bottle, depending on your day) and consider yourself brightened. It really is a nice way to welcome spring. We won’t have Meyer lemons for much longer, so best to enjoy while you can. And for right now, I’ve got my Meyer lemons and my parsnips to protect me. I am shielded in a creamy puree. (Cue Simon and Garfunkel.)

Meyer Lemon Parsnip Puree with Seared Scallops

1/4 cup sherry vinegar
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp butter, plus additional butter for cooking the scallops
6 parsnips, peeled and chopped into about 1/2 inch pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
4 Meyer lemons, zest and juice
Whole milk, as needed to thin to desired consistency

In a small sauce pan combine vinegar and honey until syrupy and reduced to about half, which may take about 10 minutes. Set aside. Heat a medium saucepan on medium low heat. Add butter and cook until it starts to turn a deep honey color and add parsnips and salt. Cook about 10 minutes, or until parsnips start to soften. Add cream and continue to cook until the cream reduces and starts to coat the parsnips (there will still be a little liquid remaining). Add honey vinegar reduction, zest and juice of the lemons and puree mixture. Taste and adjust for seasoning and add milk to thin, if desired.

Puree makes about 3-4 cups (hard to say exactly when you eat it from the bowl of your food processor)

-To cook the scallops, pat them down scallops to remove any moisture. Put dry pan on medium to high heat. Add butter and scallops. Cook for about 1 minute, until crust forms on the scallops and then briefly turn over and cook for another 30 seconds or so.


  1. The only joy I have in saying goodbye to the sweet parsnip season is that it means artichoke and asparagus season will be here soon. Lovely post. Just lovely.

  2. The puree recipe is wonderful. I am loving that recipe.

  3. I love parsnips. this looks like a lovely meal. I also love Simon and Garfunkel. :)

  4. Hmmm...parsnips as mood enhancers...wouldn't have thought of that one on my own :) If you still have meyer lemons hanging around, Delicious Days has an AMAZING recipe for meyer lemon pots de creme. While the parsnips sound divine, I prefer an old fashioned spoonful of sugar to perk my spirits. Thanks for another great post!

  5. I don't cook or eat with parsnips nearly enough!

  6. i suddenly feel the need to procure my very own cloud of parsnips.

  7. That meal would definitely cheer me up as well. Hope you are feeling all better now

  8. This sounds and looks amazing!!! Even perfect, precious looking things must be eaten. :) And all the better when we're just a little bit cranky.