One of the early treasures of spring? Wintered-over parsnips. Parsnips that are left in the ground in the fall, covered with protective mulch and harvested in the early spring are referred to as wintered-over parsnips. The stored starch in the root converts to sugar in the early spring in preparation of new spring growth. These parsnips are especially tender and sweet.

Makes 4-6 servings.

1½ pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup green garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon salt

Cracked black pepper to taste

Combine the parsnips and potatoes in a saucepan with ½ teaspoon salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for 15-18 minutes (depending on the thickness of the vegetables). The parsnips should be soft enough to mash with a fork on the side of the pan. Drain the parsnips.

Return the parsnips to the saucepan. Use a small whisk or potato masher to mash the parsnips to a smooth consistency. (If you prefer a softer consistency, stir in a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid.)

In a small sauté pan heat the butter on medium. Once melted, add the green garlic and stir occasionally until the garlic has evenly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic butter to the mashed parsnips with the salt and some black pepper. Fold in the butter and green garlic. Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly.