I’ve enjoyed a similar salad at supernova chef Thomas Keller’s New York bakery, Bouchon. The sweet, earthy flavor of the roasted parsnips bewitched me to the point of near-obsession. I daresay that after some trial-and-error, this salad may just surpass the master’s.
10 medium parsnips (reserve widest 2 for frying)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 strips bacon, roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 heads frisée (curly endive), cleaned and dried, leaves separated
1 orange, cut supreme (no membrane attached), juice reserved
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut 8 parsnips into 1/4-inch-thick batons. In a medium-size bowl, combine batons, butter, and maple syrup. Place batons on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum; season with salt and pepper. Bake 30 minutes until tender and lightly browned in spots.
Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a cast-iron frypan to 325 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, peel remaining 2 parsnips; then carefully, but with pressure, peel parsnips into thin ribbons. Fry ribbons until golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel, and season with salt.
Drain oil from pan and discard; wipe pan with a towel. Heat pan to medium and fry bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of rendered fat. Add minced shallot to pan and sauté in fat until softened. Keep warm.
Place frisée in a large bowl. Add shallots and fat. Add orange pieces, orange juice, and lemon juice; toss well to coat. Divide on 6 serving plates.
Place roasted parsnip batons and fried parsnip ribbons on top of frisée. Sprinkle with reserved bacon and chopped chives.
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