Shop with a Chef: Jennifer Peters

November 1, 2011

Jennifer Peters apprenticed under the passionate Bruno Marti at La Belle Auberge in Ladner where, if she didn’t prepare a dish to his satisfaction, he’d admonish her: “Why don’t you love the carrots? You can’t overcook a carrot and tell me you care.” It’s a lesson that Peters brings to her kitchen at Raincity Grill: only by learning to cook humble foods perfectly can you master more complicated techniques and ingredients. Even the oft-overlooked parsnip can be a showstopper when it’s perfectly prepared with warm, complementary flavours.

How to Buy First, Peters says, parsnips should never be limp. Look for medium-sized roots with ivory-coloured skin and a white interior. They should have the same feel as a carrot: firm, dense, and heavy for their size. A fresh parsnip smells richly of earth, with a surprising sweetness and a subtle hint of parsley. For Raincity, Peters gets them delivered from Pemberton’s North Arm Farm; when shopping for herself she finds them at small grocery stores that sell local produce.

How to cook Elevate humble parsnips to guest-worthy status by pan-roasting them with a honey-horseradish glaze (which also adds sweet-and-sour warmth to poultry and pork). To make the glaze, heat butter in a pan with a finely diced shallot, a bay leaf, a small bunch of fresh thyme, a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and a few tablespoons of honey. Allow the glaze to thicken slightly. In a separate pan, brown two tablespoons of butter, then add peeled parsnips cut roughly into same-sized pieces. Cook until they’re golden and tender all the way through. Add slices of apple or pear and a handful of walnuts; sprinkle fresh parsley over the parsnips and salt to taste. Discard the bay and thyme, and add a few tablespoons of finely grated horseradish to the glaze. Spoon dollops of the glaze over the parsnips until fully coated, then serve.


Get the Newsletter

Own your city with Vancouver’s thrice-weekly scoop on the latest restaurant news, must-shop hotspots and can’t miss events. Rest assured your email is safe with us.