Truffled Parsnip and Pickled Girolle Salad with Shipcord Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts
Truffled Parsnip and Pickled Girolle Salad with Shipcord Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts

Truffled Parsnip and Pickled Girolle Salad with Shipcord Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts

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    Serves 4 as a starter
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It’s the time of year when root vegetables takes centre stage, wild mushrooms are plentiful and we are looking for richer, bolder flavours when cooking. If you’re lucky enough you might find a few truffles if you can afford purchasing them. In my case I have to settle for truffle oil; it has as equally a delicious and inviting flavour, taste and aroma as the real deal.

This dish is one of those faithful beauties that has graced the menus of the British Larder for a few weeks and our customers love it! I should also take the opportunity to thank Maria Elia for inspiring us to put this dish on our menu, Maria is a very good friend of ours, spending many days working with us.

The parsnip is one of those amazing vegetables packed with natural sweetness and is the perfect vegetable to grow in colder countries. They rely on the frost to develop their sweetness and flavour. It’s said that parsnips were eaten long before the discovery of potatoes, and in ancient Roman times they used to be much smaller, more the size of a baby carrot when fully grown. As the Romans traveled further north they found that the parsnips grew bigger, more in line with the size of those we see today. They are a quick grower and easy to maintain, hence the popularity of growing them amongst gardeners. I have not given it a go – perhaps I should try growing them myself next year!

Parsnips have a distinctive earthy flavour, and hence work well with wild mushrooms and woodland flavours such as truffle. Girolles are a bit expensive and could easily been substituted for chestnut mushrooms which will give a similar effect.

I added the flavour of the Shipcord cheese which has a full, long lasting taste not dissimilar from Alpine cheeses, and toasted hazelnuts compliment the richness of the cheese. This Shipcord cheese is made here in Suffolk, the parsnips grow in a field 5 miles from our restaurant and the girolles only a tad further, from Norfolk. For us it’s perfect, local, and definitely seasonal.

This dish has a lot of complex layers of taste and flavour but then that is perfect for the colder days. Who said a salad should be boring?!photo of Truffled Parsnip and Pickled Girolle Salad with Shipcord Cheese and Toasted Hazelnutsphoto of Truffled Parsnip and Pickled Girolle Salad with Shipcord Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts

Ingredients & Method

Truffled Parsnips and Borlotti Beans

  • 2 large parsnips
  • 2tbs unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 200g fresh borlotti beans or cooked dried borlotti beans
  • Few drops of truffle oil
  • 1 sprig of thyme

Thyme Roasted Parsnips

  • 2 large parsnips
  • 50ml rapeseed oil
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 50g hazelnuts, chopped

Parsnip Puree

  • 4 large parsnips
  • 2tbs unsalted butter
  • 200ml milk

Pickled Girolles

  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 60ml hazelnut oil
  • 60ml sherry vinegar
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves only
  • 200g girolles, cleaned
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard

For the Truffled Parsnips and Borlotti Beans. If you are using fresh borlotti beans: Cook the borlotti beans in seasoned water with the sprig of thyme until tender; drain and set aside. Alternatively use tinned borlotti beans or use dried borlotti beans that have been previously soaked in cold water and cooked until tender. Peel and dice the parsnips into 1cm cubes. Heat a large non-stick frying pan with the butter – once it’s foaming sauté the parsnips with seasoning until they turn golden brown, reduce the heat and leave the parsnips until golden, caramelised and tender but not mushy. Add the cooked borlotti beans and truffle oil and adjust the seasoning if needed. Set aside until needed.

For the Thyme Roasted Parsnips. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a roasting tray with parchment paper. Peel the parsnips and cut each into 6 long wedges. Lay the parsnips on the tray, season and add the oil, mix. Roast the parsnips for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden, add the hazelnuts the last 5 minutes of cooking time, once cooked chop the thyme and scatter over, set aside until needed.

For the Parsnip Puree. Peel and dice the parsnips into 2cm dice, heat a saucepan with the butter and sauté the parsnips until they start to turn golden, season as you cook. Once the parsnips are nearly tender enough add the milk and continue cooking until soft. While the parsnips are still hot puree until a smooth but thick puree, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

For the pickled Girolles. Clean the girolle mushrooms and cut them into smaller pieces if needed. Heat 1tbs of oil in a medium non-stick frying pan, sauté the girolles with seasoning for two minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the mustard, thyme, hazelnut and the rest of the rapeseed oil and sherry vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

To Serve . Reheat the truffled parsnips and borlotti beans with a few spoons full of the pickled girolles. Heat the puree and the thyme roasted parsnips. Spread the puree on a warm plate; arrange the truffled parsnips and the thyme roasted parsnips on top. Scatter chopped roasted hazelnuts over with a few slithers of Shipcord cheese shavings. Toss a few watercress sprigs and mixed cress with a drop of truffle oil and vinaigrette to garnish the dish. Serve immediately.

Cook’s note
Use haricot or butter beans instead of borlotti beans.