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I love all vegetables, but have extra affection for the chosen few. I don’t know if it is the scarcity here of parsnips, and the few that we do get tend to be small and woody, but the sight of the plump white roots in the vegetable stalls at my local market in London have me yearning for roast parsnips all crisp brown and caramelised around the edges, or parsnip patties with a sharp sweet and sour sauce, or this casserole which perfectly brings out the flavour of these sweet roots.


Serves 4 as a side vegetable and 2 as a main course
About 500 grams parsnips
4 medium sized tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200 ml single cream or crème fraiche
Parmesan/pecorino/mature hard cheese to grate


Peel the parsnips and slice thinly.
Thinly slice the tomatoes.
In an ovenproof casserole, layer the ingredients. Start with a trickle of cream, then some parsnips layed side by side, then tomato slices, another trickle of cream, salt and pepper and finally a little grated cheese.
Continue layering until all the ingredients are used ending with a layer of parsnips topped with cheese.
Cover and bake at 175 C for an hour and a half.