Our addiction to fresh bamboo started in Tokyo. Up til then our only experience with bamboo had been of the canned variety which always had a rather revolting smell which strangely enough never stopped me from using it in stir fries.
In Tokyo, restaurants would showcase the new season shoots in a myriad of ways and it wasn’t until we ate it roasted with carrots and potatoes that I realised you could do something other than throw it into a wok.
It’s brief appearance in the supermarket each winter would mean I’d cook with it maybe a couple of times a week – roasted, panfried and even popped onto a pizza. Ask Richard what his favourite vegetable is and he would probably say bamboo shoot – which even I think is just a little bit on the weird side.
Now of course fresh bamboo is pretty much everywhere I shop, but only during the colder months. My veg lady at the wet market will peel the bamboo for me which I love because she leaves it whole and just passes the heart over to me. If I bring them home unpeeled I always cut them in half first then peel off the outer layers which I’m sure would be frowned upon.
A couple of weeks back we had some of Richard’s colleagues and their significant others over for a Sunday roast. ‘We’ decided it would be a nice idea to do an Aussie roast which meant lamb and all the veggies.
‘We’ of course don’t realise that doing a roast dinner for eight people involves quite a lot of work – especially when baby roast potatoes are requested and it’s decreed that each person would eat at least ten of them. It took ‘us’ the best part of an hour just to scrub and clean those 80-ish spuds.
As well as the slow roasted lamb ‘we’ served thyme and maple syrup carrots, a rocket, pear and parmesan salad and these panfried parsnips & bamboo shoots. Inspired by Leah’s Buttered Parsnips over at Sharing the Food We Love this has become our ‘side veg’ of choice. I’ve might have eaten the whole lot below after taking the photo.
The slightly bitter and crunchy shoots are a perfect foil for the sweet caramelised parsnips. It’s a great combo and one I came too accidentally but it works. When you’re juggling a lot of pots and pans in the kitchen and trying to get everything out to the table at once, this will sit happily on the stove minding it’s own business on a low heat just gently frying away.
Of course Richard couldn’t help himself and asked the guys at the table what their favourite part of the meal was. And of course they all said the roast potatoes and of course Richard took the credit for ‘making’ them because the only part of the ‘we’ cooking that he did was squash them before they were anointed with olive oil and salt and by the time that happened he had well and truly exited the kitchen….
In any case, there wasn’t a spud left so I guess it was a successful Aussie roast and it ended up turning into a bit of a party. The next day I counted the empties- 7 wine, 1 champagne, 1 grappa and 1 dessert wine.
I got the last laugh because I didn’t have to go to work with a sore head and battle through the day. It only took a couple of hours to clean up the mess and then I got to lay down on the sofa and catch up on My Kitchen Rules…..
Panfried parsnips and bamboo
- 1 large parsnip peeled
- 2 bamboo shoots cut in half and peeled
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 15 g butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Cut the parsnip and bamboo shoots into batons roughly the same size.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the parsnips. Cook for 5 minutes and add the bamboo.
Cook for another 5 minutes and then tae off heat and drain.
Heat a frying pan large enough to take the vegetables in one layer over a medium heat.
Add butter and olive oil and when butter has melted, add the veg carefully so you don't get splattered!
Cook until golden brown and nicely caramelised.
Spring is allegedly on it’s way. I’m wishing it here sooner rather than later even though I know it’s only a matter of weeks until the bamboo disappears until autumn again. I’ll just have to put up with watermelon and pomelo in the meantime. Now, where is that sun????