Ohhhh, Parsnip. I love you.
Sure, you’re supposed to be the side complementing a roast chicken breast but, let’s be honest: you’re the star.
You made me eat each and every piece of you, sliced in thin strips, tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. The high temperature of the oven softened you and then crisped up your edges. It gave you lovely bursts of dark color, carmelizing your sugars – sugars I wasn’t even aware you had.
You’re flavorful. You’re sweet. You’re earthy. You’re marvelous.
The chicken, perked up by the fiery and tangy notes of a homemade chile vinegar, was jealous. You, without adornment, were delicious.
I look forward to seeing you next time, Parsnip. You will be mine again very, very soon.
Chicken and Parsnip "Fries" with Spicy Vinegar (adapted)
1 1/2 lb parsnips
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 chicken breast halves with skin and bone (1.75 lb)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F with rack in middle. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray generously with cooking spray.
Peel parsnips and quarter lengthwise. (If large, cut lengthwise into eighths and cut out cores.) Toss with 1 tablespoon oil, spread onto prepared sheet pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring occasionally, while preparing chicken.
Rinse chicken, pat dry, then sprinkle salt and pepper. Spray a 12-inch heavy skillet with cooking spray and heat on high until the oil shimmers, then brown skin side of chicken, about 3 minutes.
Transfer chicken, skin side up, to pan with parsnips, reserving skillet, and roast until chicken is cooked through and parsnips are tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
While chicken roasts, reheat fat in skillet with remaining tablespoon oil, then add vinegar and red-pepper flakes and boil, stirring, for 30 seconds. Pour into a cup and keep warm, covered.
Serve chicken and fries drizzled with spicy vinegar. Serves 2.