Roasted Parsnips with Zhug and Crispy Capers

Roast Parsnips with Zhug and Crispy Capers

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Zhug it is a fresh chilli sauce originating from Yemen, similar to harissa but made with green chillies herbs and spices. It’s awesome and is used as a condiment throughout the Middle East. Aromatic, fresh and spicy with bitterness from the green chilli it pairs exceptionally well with the sweet fragrant parsnips and the crisp salty capers. You can serve it in two ways, either in one layer of parsnips on a platter or on a tray, with the sauce and capers scattered over the top (this way is more beautiful). You can also put all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix it all up together (this way is more delicious). I like to do both, lay the ingredients out beautifully then mix it all together seconds before you serve.

Serves 4 people as a side dish.
40 minutes prep time.

For the Roast Parsnips
600g-700g Parsnips (that’s around 5-6 medium parsnips)
1tsp Cumin Seeds
1tsp Caraway Seeds
Extra Virgin Olive oil

For the Zhug
4 Cardamom Pods
1/2tsp Caraway Seeds
1/2tsp Cumin Seeds

1tsp Coriander Seeds
1 big clove of Garlic, chopped
1 large handful of fresh Coriander, roughly chopped
1 large handful fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped
1–2 Green Chillies (use less if you want it less hot), chopped
1 Turkish Green Pepper, chopped (or a ½ a regular green pepper)
Juice of ½ Lemon,
75ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Capers and garnish
100ml Sunflower or Veg oil
40g Capers
1 small handful of fresh Coriander

Preheat the oven to 200ºc

For the Parsnips; Peel then chop off the tops of the parsnips and cut lengthways into quarters or similar sizes. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with a good few glugs of olive oil, cumin and caraway seeds mix together with your hands to combine and pop in the oven for 30-35mintes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To make the Zhug; You can make it in a food processor or in a pestle and mortar, like to use a food processor as its quicker.
Roughly grind the spices (cardamom, caraway, cumin coriander seeds) in a spice grinder then tip them into the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients excluding the extra virgin olive oil and blitz into a rough paste. Add a good couple of pinches of salt and some pepper followed by the olive oil then blitz for a few more seconds until combined and looking like a loose but rough sauce. If it’s a bit to stogy add a little more olive oil. Check the seasoning then tip the Zhug into a container and set aside.

For the Capers; heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan over a medium heat then add the capers to the oil. Fry for 5-6 minutes until they start to open up and look crispy. Remove from them from the oil with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on a paper towel. Roughly chop the coriander and set aside.

To assemble; when the parsnips are ready either transfer them to a suitable plate/bowl or you can dress them on the tray you have used to cook them on. Dribble over the Zhug, as little or as much as you like (there should be a little leftover for you to use in the week!), scatter over the capers followed by the roughly chopped coriander and a little drizzle of olive oil if you like. You can serve the dish like this or you can mix it all together. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Please let us know how you got on with them or if you need any cooking tips or recipe ideas get in touch via Twitter, Facebook , Instagram or by email as we’d love your feedback!

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Dixie x
(aka Aphrodite Fingal-Rock Innes)

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