Parsnips and Purple Potatoes

After our lovely Labor Day backpacking trip last week, I decided to stay at home to rest my aching joints and tend the to-do list this weekend while my hubby headed out for a solo Sierra adventure. Anticipating a big day in the great outdoors, he kindly requested a burger for dinner. A homemade one…with hormone-free, grass-fed beef…on a gluten-free bun…and fresh hand-cut potato fries on the side…and a gluten-free beer? Pretty pleeeease? Well, how could I say no to that. Of course I will make you a burger and fries. Oooohhh…with fresh herb and garlic salt on my fries? Okay, buddy, now you’re pushing it. I agreed to the burger and fries, but drew the line at the fancy garlic salt. However, as the day drew on and I shopped and prepped for my hungry hiker, I found myself chopping fresh herbs, pressing garlic and making that darn salt. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of fancy salt to make someone smile. And I must admit, I do love making my special someone smile.

Fresh Herb and Garlic Salt

Of course, I must admit to my own selfish motives. If there is one guilty pleasure I am happy to indulge, it is my love of fries. Forget the burger and just give me a big plate of hot fries! Not just potato fries, but carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets…I just adore crispy, salty, fried root veggies of any kind. I had some parsnips and herbs in the fridge that needed to be used and I’ve been wanting to try these parsnip fries for a while now, so I whipped up some of this fresh herb and garlic salt and made myself a big ‘ole plate of fancy fries.

Now that I think about it, I didn’t actually follow the original recipe at all, but I did get my inspiration from Sarah over at A house in the Hills. I started by making my herbed salt, which is really quite simple and a little bit goes a long way. I poured about 1/4 cup of sea salt in a small bowl. I like to use this Himalayan pink salt which I can usually find at our local grocery store. Then, I crushed a clove or two of garlic, chopped a handful of various fresh herbs (I used purple Thai basil, oregano and parsley because that’s what I had on hand) and incorporated them into the salt.

Himalayan Pink Salt

Fresh Herbs

Herbed Garlic Salt

Like I said, a little goes a long way with this flavorful salt. A small jar can be stored in the fridge for a week or so and you can use it to fancy up just about anything. I like to use it on salads, sautéed kale, roasted veggies, eggs or toast.

Next up, I cut the parsnips into fry-size strips. Now, a healthier choice would be to bake them in the oven, but I fried mine up in a big pot of hot oil on the stove. When they were crispy and golden brown, I removed the parsnips from the oil and spread them out on a baking sheet covered with a paper towel. I immediately sprinkled the hot fries with a little pinch of my fancy salt, transferred them to a plate and enjoyed them with a tasty dipping sauce. I love the flavor of smoked paprika with root vegetables. Usually, I sprinkle it on top of my fries, but this time I decided to make a quick and dirty dipping sauce by mixing together 3 tablespoons Vegenaise (or regular mayo), 1 teaspoon ketchup and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika. I so enjoyed indulging in this smokey, garlicky, herby, salty, greasy, guilty pleasure while I waited for my hungry hiker to return from a long day in the great outdoors. I made his fries out of potatoes and served them up alongside a homemade burger. It was worth going the extra mile to see him smile at the sight of that fancy salt.

Raw Parsnips

 

Parsnip Fries with Herbed Garlic Salt

 

Herbed Garlic Parsnip Fries

This morning, the hungry hiker requested fried eggs with a potato hash side dish. That boy always has a monster appetite after a satisfying Sierra trip and I was happy to cook him up some grub. I thought I should make good use of that herbed garlic salt and in a what-to-do-with-this moment, I decided to use the purple potatoes from my CSA box. I am quite sure he was expecting plain old potatoes, but I just couldn’t resist using the fancy purple ones. There is something about those vibrant varieties of fruits and vegetables that I find so enchanting. Slicing into those purple potatoes gave me a silly little satisfaction and brought a bit of color to my day. I tossed them in a pan with a little coconut oil, some diced red onion and deep green kale. I pan roasted them until they were soft on the inside, a little crispy on the outside and then I sprinkled them with just a pinch of herbed garlic salt. Mmmm.

Purple Potatoes and Kale
Purple Potato and Kale Hash

Sometimes it’s the littlest things in life, like a plate of parsnips or purple potatoes, that bring the most delight.

Purple Potatoes
Find a little fancy and seek a little color in your everyday :)

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