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Loaves & Fishes: Parsnip Cakes, Trout, Buttermilk Biscuits

This week on Earth Eats, we continue our on-going exploration of root vegetables with some versatile parsnip cakes that we serve with smoked trout salad.

Today on Earth Eats, we have two recipes: first, a recipe for the best buttermilk biscuits you’ve ever had (really).

And then we continue our exploration of root vegetables with some parsnip pancakes that we serve with smoked trout, apple and horseradish cream. We’re calling it our “loaves and fishes” episode.

Before we heat up the griddle, let’s talk parsnips. They’re related to carrots but they’re richer in nutrients like potassium, and they’re great for those of us growing food in the colder climates because frost actually enhances the flavor.

Parsnip Cakes With Smoked Trout, Apple, And Horseradish Cream

These little bite-sized snacks make great appetizers — we’re using them today as canapes topped with smoked trout salad — but they’re also quite versatile.

You could substitute any number of other root vegetables such as rutabagas, celery root or turnips in this recipe. The only thing is that some of these vegetables have more water in them than others, so you may need to also adjust the amount of flour to give the batter the desired consistency.

Alternatively, you could add a bit of sugar to the mix and serve these for breakfast with real maple syrup. The recipe makes 8 cakes, or about 4 servings.

For The Parsnip Cakes


  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs, beaten (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for pan-frying

Cooking Directions

  1. Place the parsnips in a pot, with enough water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Mash with the cream, egg, flour, butter, salt, and pepper. Let sit until cool enough to handle.
  3. Form into small cakes, about 3 inches in diameter and 1-inch high.
  4. Place the Panko in a small bowl. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Brush the cakes on both sides with the remaining beaten egg and dip into the breadcrumbs.
  6. In batches, pan-fry the cakes in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides, adding more oil as needed.
  7. Remove from the pan and serve immediately with the smoked trout salad (recipe follows).

Topping: Smoked Trout, Apple, and Horseradish Cream Salad


  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fennel greens
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 apple, cored, and finely chopped
  • 8 ounces smoked trout, bones and skin removed, and coarsely flaked

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the cream, horseradish, garlic, oil, and vinegar until well blended.
  2. Add the green onions, parsley, salt, and cayenne pepper, and mix well.
  3. Fold in the apple and trout, and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Serve on top of the parsnip cakes, garnish with fresh herbs and lemon.

Also On This Episode: Grandma’s Buttermilk Biscuits

Bread baking is a fundamental part of home cooking, and, fortunately for beginners, it is a skill that produces great results after just a few tries.

After a basic recipe is perfected, a home baker can move on to a variety of biscuits, breads, rolls, and sweet pastry leavened with commercial yeast.

Here’s a great recipe to get you started, for some delicious homemade buttermilk biscuits.

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Earth Eats Staff

Earth Eats Staff is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

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