Cuisine Fiend

parsnip fries


parsnip fries

All those fries called ‘fries’ that aren’t really fries are quite infuriating. Sweet potato fries have recipes galore to their name but not one does actually fry them. What the hell? Either fry the things or call them bakes, for God’s sake.

I’m not saying they are not good products, those ‘fries’ – I’ve had some really delightful ones made from sweet or ordinary potatoes. But why not call them roasties if that’s what they are?

It’s all lies and hypocrisy; we’re pretending to ourselves we’re eating something deliciously FRIED while smug in the knowledge it’s not the real thing. It’s the opposite of, say, pan-frying, pan-roasting and all those euphemistic expressions aimed at disguising the fact that the thing is, indeed, fried.

parsnip chips

So basically we call non-fried things fried and fried things anything but. How weird is that?

Let me tell you: my parsnip chips are fried. FRIED. IN HOT OIL. LOTS OF IT. And that’s why I call them fries. And that’s not the end of it because they as it happens are also BAKED, so of all people frying bakes and baking fries I should be entitled to fib it a bit for Google’s sake. But I prefer to call a fry a fry – provided it is one.


parsnip fries

Servings: 2Time: about an hour


  • 3-4 large, fat parsnips
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper


1. Peel, top and tail the parsnips; cut them into fat chips. Rinse well with cold water to get rid of some of the starch.

chipped parsnips

2. Spread them on a sheet of parchment on an oven rack and bake for 20 minutes at 200C/400F/gas 6. Turn them over halfway through if you can be bothered. They should dry a little but not colour.

baked parsnips

3. Preheat the oil in a chip pan or deep fat fryer to 190C/375F. Plunge the chips in without overloading the pan; you may need to do it in batches. Fry for about 10-15 minutes until they float up to the surface and colour light brown (the core will brown much sooner than the flesh of the parsnip if you do not trim it; not necessary but some people do). Lift the fries out of the pan and set aside until ready to plunge for the second time.

parsnip chips after first dip

4. Mix the seasoning in a small bowl.

5. Return the oil to 190C/375F and dip the fries for only 3-5 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl lined with paper towels, then transfer to a serving bowl and toss well with the seasoning mix. They will stay crisp surprisingly long,

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