Barbara Kafka

Parsnip Flan

(from Vegetable Love, page 197) 

This is one of the best of the flans. As a first course, it is sensational counter pointed by a thin slice of smoked salmon.

NOTE: Although the book specifies 1/2 cup ( 4 oz.) ramekins, use 1/4 cup (2oz.) ramekins which are  2-1/2 inch in diameter. Eight ramekins will make very small flans suitable as part of a buffet or a multi-course meal. For a larger portion to be used as a side dish or first course, use 6 ramekins and increase the cooking time to 60 minutes.

A trick to unmolding the flan: cool slightly, loosen sides with a knife, then with one hand invert the ramekin over the palm of your other hand with a slight whack. Quickly transfer flan from palm to serving dish. Of if you prefer, serve directly in the ramekins.

Vegetable oil for greasing molds

½ pound parsnips, peeled and trimmed, cut in chunks

1 shallot, peeled, chopped

1½ teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

½ cups Basic Chicken Stock (page 501), Roasted Chicken Stock (page 502) or commercial chicken stock

¼ cup heavy cream

2 large egg yolks

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
 

Put the parsnips, shallots, butter and chicken stock in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the parsnips are very soft. Cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease eight 2-ounce (1/4-cup) ramekins with oil. Line a baking pan large enough to hold the ramekins with several thicknesses of newspaper. Set aside.

Transfer the parsnip mixture to a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the cream and egg yolks. Process again until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins. Place the ramekins in the lined pan and add enough water to come halfway up  the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into a flan comes out clean.

Remove from the water bath; cool slightly. Run a knife around each flan and unmold onto a serving platter or individual dishes. Serve immediately.

Serves 8 as part of a buffet, or follow directions above to serve 6 as a side dish or a first course

Microwave Variation:
Lightly grease eight 2-ounce (1/4-cup) ramekins with oil. Set aside.

Place the parsnips and shallots in a 2-quart soufflé dish. Add the butter and stock. Cover tightly with microwave plastic wrap. Cook at 100% for 5 minutes. Pierce the plastic to release the steam.

Uncover and transfer the mixture to a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the cream and egg yolks. Process until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour ¼ cup of the mixture into each ramekin. Place ramekins in a 14 x 11 x 2-inch dish. Add water to come to a depth of 1 inch. Cover tightly with microwave plastic wrap. Cook at 100% for 8 minutes.

Pierce the plastic with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the ramekins from oven. Let stand for 3 minutes. Uncover, and unmold the flans onto a serving platter or individual dishes. Serve immediately. Serves 8 as part of a buffet.

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