I rarely deep-fry not just from a health point of view but also because it can be quite time-consuming, frying in small batches and carefully monitoring the temperature of the fat. I have a very large electric deep-fryer which is a godsend when cooking on a large scale but isn’t worth filling with oil for just a few servings. You don’t need one to cook these parsnips- a large saucepan half-filled with oil will suffice. These parsnips really are delicious both as a snack or starter (I serve them in the photo with a mustard dip) and also as an accompaniment to most roast meats. They can also be prepared well in advance and even fried about 30-40 minutes before serving so you don’t need to do anything last minute. Simply heat through for about 10 minutes. You can re-use the oil again but I don’t recommend a third fry-the oil will start to taste rancid. Panko breadcrumbs which are widely available now are the key to a crisp coating.
- 550g parsnips, peeled and cut into even-sized batons
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 100g panko breadcrumbs
- 45g parmesan cheese, grated
- Oil for deep-frying, about 1.5 litres
- Place the parsnips in salted water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2-3 minutes- a bit longer if the parsnips are on the large side. The parsnips should be only just cooked through. Drain well and leave to cool.
- Mix the flour with 2-3 pinches of salt and some ground black pepper. Place in a shallow bowl. Pour the beaten eggs into a second bowl. Mix together the breadcrumbs and the parmesan and place in a third bowl. Dust the parsnips in the flour, then dip into the egg and finally roll the parsnips in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking tray.
- In a large saucepan or deep-fat fryer heat the oil to 180˚c. Deep-fry the parsnips, about 5-6 at a time, for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Continue to deep-fry the remaining parsnips, keeping the cooked ones warm in a low oven if you are eating straight away.