Parsnip ‘Speltotto’ with Prosciutto-Wrapped Haddock

This Parsnip ‘Speltotto’ with Prosciutto-Wrapped Haddock is another recipe from Ceri Jones’ It Starts with Veg: 100 Seasonal Suppers and Sides cookbook. Instead of using rice, Ceri swaps in pearled spelt, and cooks it much the same way as for a risotto. The speltotto is topped with prosciutto-wrapped fresh haddock and parnsip crisps.

Photograph of Ceri Jone's Parsnip Speltotto with Prosciutto-Wrapped Haddock

Cooked by Ceri, photography by Samantha Couzens (note that this image has been provided for promotion purposes and there are no photographs in the book itself)

Read our full review of It Starts with Veg by Ceri Jones.

Parsnip ‘Speltotto’ with Prosciutto Wrapped Haddock

Rice puts the ‘ris’ in risotto, but you can apply a similar cooking technique to other grains. For this speltotto, spelt, an ancient type of wheat, provides a chewy contrast to the soft buttery parsnips. Look for pearled spelt, which has had its outer husk removed and will cook in around 20 minutes. Paired with haddock wrapped in salty prosciutto crudo, this speltotto makes a comforting winter supper. This dish doesn’t need a side, but a few salad leaves mixed with matchsticks of apple are a good complement.


  • 2 medium-sized parsnips (approx. 250 g /9 oz), peeled
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 125 g (4½ oz) pearled spelt, rinsed
  • 4 tbsp white wine
  • approx. 500 ml (17 fl oz) warm chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
  • salt and pepper

For the Prosciutto-Wrapped Haddock

  • 4 slices of prosciutto crudo
  • 2 skinless haddock fillets (approx. 125 g / 4½ oz each)
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped


For a variation, try this recipe with celeriac, but skip the crisp step.


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to peel off around 20 ribbons of parsnip for your crisps, toss these into a small bowl with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt. Set aside. Split the parsnips in half through the root, then quarter, remove the core, and dice into 1cm/½ inch pieces.
  • Over a low-medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a medium-sized saucepan that you have a lid for. Add the chopped shallots and parsnip cubes, cook uncovered for a minute or so, then add a lid and cook for a further 4–5 minutes, stirring at regular intervals to avoid sticking (the lid helps the parsnips soften quicker). Remove the lid and cook uncovered from now on. Add the garlic, thyme, season with salt and pepper, then stir in the spelt. Splash in the wine and, once it has almost evaporated, start to add the warm stock a ladleful at a time. Keep on a moderate bubble and continue to feed the dish stock over the next 20 minutes, until the spelt has plumped up, is tender, and you have a loose ‘risotto’ consistency. Stir occasionally – it needs far less attention than a regular rice risotto.
  • While the speltotto is cooking, prepare and cook your haddock. Lay the prosciutto out on your board and overlap 2 slices for each haddock fillet to a width to match the longer edge of your pieces of haddock. Lay the haddock pieces on top of the prosciutto, top with the thyme leaves, a pinch of salt and pepper. Wrap the haddock tightly in the prosciutto and turn over so the join is hidden underneath. Transfer to a baking tray, lightly drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for around 12 minutes, until the fish is opaque, and the prosciutto lightly crisped.
  • Spread the oiled parsnip ribbons onto a baking tray and cook for 5 minutes (at the same time as the fish is fine) until crispy.
  • When the spelt is cooked, turn off the heat, add the Parmesan, and cover the pan. Let it sit for a minute for the cheese to melt in. Stir and season to taste.
  • To serve, plate up pools of the speltotto into individual pasta bowls and top with the baked fish and parsnip crisps.

Kavey Eats received a review copy of It Starts with Veg: 100 Seasonal Suppers and Sides by Ceri Jones from publishers Pavilion. Promotional photograph by Samantha Couzens (not from the book). 

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