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Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Cumin and Fennel

Inspired by the vegetables we saw growing in Madera — as well as Lucy’s excitement about carrots and parsnips — we came home and made this simple dish. With toasted cumin and fennel seeds, the carrots and parsnips are slightly sweet, with a tiny pungent taste. They’re familiar but a bit unexpected.

This is the kind of dish you make when you’ve pulled the last of the root vegetables out of the garden, waiting for new green vegetables to appear. And this simple yogurt sauce works on any vegetables you might roast up these days, in the time between winter and true spring.

Ingredients

Feeds 4 to 6
for the carrots and parsnips
1 pound fresh medium-sized carrots (the more color, the better!)
1 pound fresh medium-sized parsnips
2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds
2 teaspoons toasted fennel seeds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
for the yogurt sauce
1 cup full-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375°.
  2. Peel the carrots and parsnips. Cut the carrots into 2-inch pieces, on the bias. Cut the parsnips in half down the middle. Cut the thick ends into half lengthwise, then cut them into 2-inch pieces, on the bias. Leave the thin ends whole.
  3. Crush the cumin and fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle, or in a spice grinder, until they are a fine powder. Toss the carrots and parsnips with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay the carrots and parsnips on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss them with the cumin and fennel powder.
  4. Roast the carrots and parsnips until they are tender to a knife inserted in the middle of them, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove them from the oven.
  5. While the carrots and parsnips are roasting, combine the yogurt, dill, parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. The longer the sauce sits, the fuller it will taste. (You might even make this the day before.)
  6. Serve the carrots and parsnips and drizzle with the yogurt sauce.

NOTES

To toast cumin and fennel seeds, set a small pan over medium-high heat. Put in the seeds. Toast them, shaking frequently, until the smell of the seeds fills the room, about 3 to 4 minutes. Do not burn them!