Monday, September 23, 2013

Fresh Thyme, a Gratin and the Parsnips of Doom

This is a parsnip and fresh thyme gratin and it was a fun alternative to traditional potatoes.  We ate it with grilled steak and a kale salad.  We ate it a few hours later than usual, however, due to an overwhelming attack of stupidity.

Saturday started out like a fine early autumn day.  Cleaning, errands, shopping, dog walking.  Brian picked up a couple of steaks for us for dinner and made us a cocktail, I prepped a kale salad and began to assemble a parsnip gratin.  I love working with fresh thyme and I thought the earthy flavor of the herb would go perfectly with this earthy root veggie.  I didn't want to pre-cook the parsnips so that meant I would need very thin slices.  Out came the mandolin.  Oh, I can hear you guys already.  Yes, it has a guard but it doesn't really fit so well over a parsnip.  And I thought that, because parsnips are such long vegetables, I would have plenty of time before I got too close to the blade.  So...I will spare you the gory details and photos but let's just say that my right thumb is going to be out of commission for a few days.  Ouch!

But wait, there's more!  Brian heard me cry out in pain from the kitchen and rushed in take care of me, all the while lecturing me about foolishly letting myself get too close to the blade.  When I was all bandaged, he said he would finish slicing the parsnips (no blood was shed on the food).  He picked up the long veggie and, while slicing, instructed me on staying away from the blade.  A minute later we were bandaging up his index finger.  We belong together, don't we?

Because we had so much of the dinner ready, we went ahead and cooked the gratin together since, between the both of us, we had only two good hands.  We ate it and then sat on the couch, holding up our throbbing hands.  On Sunday, we sensibly ordered Chinese food.  So, the point of this story is, parsnips are good and for heaven's sake, use your safety guard!  Enjoy!

4 Parsnips, peeled and cut into very thin slices
1 Tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 Cups milk
1 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Add the butter or oil to a large skillet.  On medium low heat, whisk in the flour and then the milk.  Continue whisking until the mixture thickens.  Turn off the heat and stir in most of the cheese, thyme and seasoning.  Place a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish (I used a 9" round dish) and then add the parsnip slices to the dish.  Only the top needs to be neatly layered.  Pour the remaining sauce over the parsnips and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour or until the top is a light golden brown.  If you find that the top is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil until the last 15 minutes.  Makes about 4 servings.


  1. You bled for this gratin. Literally. That means something...

  2. They say that pain often precedes pleasure. Whoever "they" are, they're smart cookies!

  3. Just set out the mandolin (and guard!) and heading out to get parsnips...!

  4. Ahh parsnips of doom! Sorry to hear about both of your thumbs (although it does make quite the story ;) ) I know what you mean about using the mandoline though because carrots aren't exactly easy to grip either. Regardless, I like your parsnip gratin because it's a change from the typical potato gratin I make.

  5. I love parsnips but have never thought to use them thinly sliced in a gratin. Good thing, apparently! They do sound delicious though, especially with the fresh thyme.

  6. Oh my gosh!! I need to save this for Thanksgiving!!!

  7. I've never tried parsnips but they look close to a turnip and I love turnips - once a year! :)

  8. When I read the part on how you cut yourself, I actually thought eeeeeek! I hate that when it happens to me so I do not what it happening to anybody...blessings!

  9. I nearly went to the hospital to get stitches from a mandolin cut because I thought the same thing when making zucchini slices: "Oh, I'll stop before I get too close..." Sorry to hear about your thumb, but the gratin looks delicious!

  10. This is gorgeous, totally worth sacrificing a digit for.

    Did you ever hear about the big toe/window incident, a week before our wedding?


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