A decadent and delicious fall side dish that is especially good with a seafood, beef, or chicken entrée. Parsnips are an underrated root vegetable. They are sweet, faintly piquant, and add an unexpected depth to a meal. In New England, where I live, I try to substitute them for potatoes and/or carrots in many meals because they are so good. Since they are evocative of butterscotch, honey and cardamom, it is a natural backdrop for curry. The tarragon in the dish compliments the buttery flavor of both lobster and parsnips and brings this side dish to epicurean heights. Brandade is usually made with potatoes and salted cod. This version is lighter and more luxurious.
1 ½ pounds parsnips
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1 minced shallot
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound cooked lobster meat diced or meat from 2 chicken lobsters (diced)
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1 lemon (zest 1/3 lemon)
2 teaspoons curry
1 tablespoon minced tarragon
Salt and freshly-cracked pepper
Peel and dice parsnips and place in a non aluminum heavy bottomed pot (this will insure parsnips do not turn brown or scorch in the cream when cooking). Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Reserve the insides and place the vanilla bean and minced shallots in with the parsnips. Cover with cream. Heat and cook over medium heat until it simmers and turn on low for around 20 – 30 minutes or until parsnips are cooked through. Remove and discard vanilla pod. Puree parsnips, cream, butter, and cream cheese in the food processor. Place puree in a clean bowl and fold in lobster meat, lemon zest, curry, and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Lobster with Vanilla and Sweet Chili Butter Sauce
1 Lobster, steamed and shelled – claw meat, lobster tail, cut in half
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
Juice of one lime
Sauté lobster meat in melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with allspice, fresh cracked pepper; stir in sweet chili sauce, vanilla paste, and lime juice until heated through.
2 large or 3 medium California (Haas) avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, minced
2 large scallions, thinly sliced
¼ to ½ cup fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
1 ½ tablespoons fine-chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger root
1 teaspoon Asian hot sauce
To make guacamole: In a nonreactive bowl, gently stir together avocados, tomatoes, onions, scallions, 1/4 cup lime juice, salt and pepper, as needed. Add cilantro, ginger root, and hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lime juice or salt.
To Plate: You can garnish with chives, mint, and shrimp chips.