So lunchtime arrived and I decided to tackle the parsnips. The first thing I learned in my recipe search is that summer is not really prime parsnip time. I've found that eating fruits and vegetables in season makes a big difference, so I lowered my expectations a bit. Then I noticed that the parsnips were a bit bendy/mushy; I suppose this is the sort of vegetable that sits on the grocery store shelf longer than, say, potatoes. I cut off the bad parts and lowered my expectations again.
I had decided to make "french fries" out of them—just peeled and chopped parsnips coated with olive oil, salt, and pepper, roasted in the oven for 450 degrees for 35 minutes. Except I started smelling burning after about 10 minutes, and when I finally decided to flip them at 15 minutes, about half of them were cinders on one side. Note for next time: 450 is too hot!
My first impression on tasting what was left was that they were way too sweet. They sort of tasted like a cross between a french fry and a carrot. But I added more salt, and they started to grow on me. M.H. thought they tasted kind of like sweet potato fries. I made Mik try one, and he made a face, but it was the face that means, "This tastes new to me," not the face that means, "This makes me want to hurl."
They're definitely worth another try, but maybe not until the fall. In the meantime, any other preparation ideas?