As Greg and I gorged ourselves on Bury Market cheese, we needed something to cut through the richness. I'd seen the recipe for the salad as I was flicking through English Food, and thought that I should only make it when able to get really good produce. Apparently, it's an early Seventeenth Century dish, and it's very easy to prepare. The recipe said to use one medium sized parsnip per person, so I doubled that for starters! They were boiled until tender in salted water. While they were boiling, I arranged a head of little gem lettuce in each of our bowls and made a vinaigrette. Jane recommended putting on some toasted nuts and to use the relevant nut oil in the vinaigrette. I used walnut, as I've made parsnips salads before that used walnuts. I made it in the ratio of 1 part walnut oil,1 part vegetable oil (as the nut oil by itself can be overpowering) and 1 part white wine vinegar. Then I seasoned it well. This was used to dress the parsnips. The dressed parsnips were arranged in a ring on top of the lettuce. Finally, a pile of watercress was placed in the centre of the dish along with a sprinkle of chopped toasted walnuts.
I'd forgotten how nice the walnut and parsnip combo is, and how lovely and peppery watercress is, I think that people poo-poo it has boring salad. FYI: watercress is one of the three indigenous vegetable to Britain. The others are kale and....Damn! I've forgotten the other one. I shall try and find the reference again. It's weird to think that all other vegetables have been brought in from foreign climbs, including the parsnip!
#32 Parsnip and Watercress Salad - 8.5/10. This is a great salad. Certainly tasty enough to eat on it's own. I'd have it with some granary bread to mop up any stray vinaigrette at the end!