The Clamped Vegetables
After a sleepy winter hibernation underground protected from the snow and frosts, some of our beetroot, turnips and parsnips have been transformed by Idle Rocks Head Chef, Guy Owen into a seasonal ‘Heligan’s Garden’ dish. This is all part of a unique collaboration Heligan has with the Idle Rocks Hotel, to celebrate great Cornish Food. These vegetables have been brought back to life and Guy has created a mouth wateringly beautiful dish, that emanates garden freshness.After a sleepy winter hibernation underground protected from the snow and frosts, some of our beetroot, turnips and parsnips have been transformed by Idle Rocks Head Chef, Guy Owen into a seasonal ‘Heligan’s Garden’ dish. This is all part of a unique collaboration Heligan has with the Idle Rocks Hotel, to celebrate great Cornish Food. These vegetables have been brought back to life and Guy has created a mouth wateringly beautiful dish, that emanates garden freshness.
A selection of our autumn harvested beetroot, turnips and parsnips were stored over winter in a traditional clamp in the Kitchen Garden. Clamping sees crops being buried into straw filled pits and covered in dry soil, this is so they can keep for a longer period and still be eaten in a few months’ time. Once harvest is over, storage of that harvest is key, especially for a working garden providing produce to the kitchens, or 100 years ago, to the main house.
Here at Heligan, we pride ourselves on the use of traditional practices, be that on the farm and the way we rear our animals or the way we garden and grow our crops. It is great to see another successful round of clamped crops making their way from soil to plate for many people to enjoy.
To re-create this dish at home, simply follow Guy’s recipe below or better still, pop to the Idle rocks and treat yourself to a luxury Cornish lunch.
Recipe for Heligan’s Garden. Feeds 4
8 x clamped beetroots
3 x clamped parsnips
5 x clamped turnips
1 x Granny smith apple
Red vein sorrel
Chopped mix herbs
Cornish rapeseed oil
Begin with prepping the clamped vegetables. Firstly, ensure that all sand and any soil is completely washed off the vegetables. The start with the parsnips and turnips (it is always better to start with the white vegetables first as when prepping beetroot, the red juices can stain the other vegetables).
Parsnips first. Peel the parsnips and discard the skins to the compost heap. Then continue to peel the parsnips so you have long ribbons of parsnips. Take these and gently deep fry them at around 150 degrees, until they go golden brown and create lovely crisps. Reserve to one side until you come to dress the dish.
With the remaining parsnips, chop them down into small pieces, take a large saucepan, and place around half a block of butter in the pan and melt on a medium heat. Then add the chopped parsnip along with some salt. Cook for a little bit, then add around a litre of milk. Turn down the heat to a low temperature and cover the pan with foil and leave to cook very gently for around an hour or so, or until the parsnips are very tender. Next strain off the liquid but keep the strained liquid in a separate container as you’ll need it, then place the parsnip pulp into a food liquidiser. Adding a little bit of milk to the mix. Blend to a smooth puree, place in a bowl over ice and stir continually until cool. Put in a container, and reserve for when you dress the dish.
Next move on to the turnips. Peel the turnips down and cut them into sizeable wedges. Place the wedges into a pan of boiling water and cook them gently until tender. Once cooked, remove from the water, plunge into ice water, cool, remove from the water, and reserve to one side.
Now the beetroots. We will be baking these. Take some tin foil and tear the shapes so they are roughly the right size to completely wrap around the beetroots you have individually.
Next take the tinfoil, place the beetroot on it, drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt, and place a sprig of thyme and the wrap up in the foil completely. Repeat the process until all the beetroots are wrapped.
Place in a preheated oven at 190 degrees, and bake for around 1-1 ½ hours, or until you can press a knife through the beetroot with little resistance.
Remove from the oven and leave to air-cool.
To make the parsley puree. Pick the leaves down and discard the stalks to the compost heap. Next in a pan of boiling water, boil and cook the parsley leaves, once cooked (you can tell the leaves are cooked by removing one carefully from the water with a spoon, allowing it to cool slightly, and then rubbing it between your fingers, if the leaf breaks down it is ready, if it just balls up and feel leathery then it needs longer) remove from the water, and plunge into ice water. Repeat the same process with 150g of spinach. Then strain off all the water, place both sets of leaves into the blender, and blend, with a little salt, and a little splash of water until you have a smooth puree. Cool in a bowl over ice water rapidly to retain the bright green colour.
To begin dressing the dish. Gently heat the clamped root vegetables in the oven on a tray, drizzled with a little oil and some salt. Whilst this is happening, sauté off the remaining spinach, season, and transfer to a cloth to drain of any excess liquid.
Take your chosen plate, and using both the parsnip and parsley puree, try your hand at being Picasso and artfully smatter the puree’s around the plate. Next scatter around the spinach, again, being extremely arty about the whole thing……
Remove your warmed root vegetables from the oven and place on the side. Drizzle with a little more rapeseed oil, and then scatter the chopped herbs on top of them. The herbs of course add lovely, natural flavour, but it’s amazing how it changes the appearance of the vegetable and adds vibrancy.
Using a spoon, carefully place the vegetables in the middle of the plate, creating some height. Then take the apple, and cut match stick size batons from it, and scatter these around. Finish with a little drizzle of oil, a few leaves of red vein sorrel, and finally the parsnip crisps. And that’s all that needs doing!
Serve immediately & enjoy!