The Versatility of Winter Vegetables

I have a confession to make: by the end of the season, it’s sometimes hard for me to be inspired by the Farmer’s Market in the winter. That’s a hard thing for a market junkie like me to admit, but it’s true. So a few weeks ago I threw caution to the wind and I just went ahead and bought a bunch of stuff just to do it: parsnips, Brussels sprouts, white sweet potatoes, and a green radish. Even as I was buying them an idea began to form. Why not make a salad of winter vegetables? So I did.

The parsnips I roasted, with some sliced oyster mushrooms, and while they were in the oven I boiled the sweet potatoes, then the Brussels sprouts (I don’t boil them until they’re mushy; I like some bite to them). I used my mandoline to make paper thin slices of the green radish, and then blanched the sliced for a few seconds to make them more pliable. I also made a quick vinaigrette: mustard, sherry vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper, and olive oil. I arranged everything on a bed of wild arugula, and dressed it with the vinaigrette. Eating it was inspiring: the sweet, and bitter, and earthy flavors (not to mention all of the different textures) really made me aware of the versatility of these vegetables. So since then I have used the vegetables in curries, and in pasta sauces, and in stir fry, and in polenta, and in…