Root Vegetables, Unbundled

Blanching the vegetables brightens their colors and assures that they’ll all be perfectly cooked before their last-minute visit to the sauté pan.
(adapted from the “Vegetable Bundles” recipe in The New Basics Cookbook)
Servings 8


  • 6 carrots, peeled
  • 4 parsnips, peeled
  • 2 leeks, paler parts only
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 tsp tarragon leaves, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 tsp marjoram leaves, minced
  • 6 scallions, green parts only, or a bunch of chives
  • freshly ground pepper


  • Trim the carrots, parsnips, and leeks to 4 or 5 inches. Cut all into julienne strips.
  • Fill a large saucepan with water. Add ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Place the carrots in small metal basket or strainer, submerge in the boiling water, and remove after 45 seconds. Follow with the parsnips at 30 seconds and the leeks at 10 seconds. As each vegetable comes out of the boiling water, plunge it directly into ice water, then drain. (A slotted spoon also works, if you lack the basket or strainer.)
  • After blanching, you can set the drained vegetables aside for hours. Finishing them in the herb butter is then a matter of a few minutes.
  • When you’re almost ready to serve, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shallots until translucent. Add the minced herbs, the scallions, and the blanched vegetables, turning them very gently in the butter. When they are heated through and tender, transfer to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately.


This holiday meal is dedicated to the memory of Marion Crocker, pictured, who hosted many a warm and gracious Thanksgiving Dinner in her Plymouth home.