Root vegetables. Not the most thrilling food, but that’s what I have in the fridge. Something about the inauguration has made me want everything to be bright, new and exciting. This time in history, as well as this season of the year, calls for us to put what we already have to good use. If you take lots of photos like I do, you learn to create some of that desirable newness simply by looking at ordinary things in a different way. My task became to resist the same old, same old and try something I hadn’t tried before and the reward was great.
I’ve made my fair share of roasted vegetables and always love them. I’ve even made salads using the leftovers. What I hadn’t done was roast the roots specifically for a winter salad. I know it’s not a huge revelation but it can be very delicious. Best of all, you can use whatever root vegetables you can find in the fridge or cupboard. I had a couple turnips, some carrots and several parsnips, all bought at the farmers market last weekend. I also found half a savoy cabbage and the last of some fromage blanc from Mt. Townsend Creamery.
I was inspired by a recipe in the NYTimes by Melissa Clark for a beet radicchio salad. It sounded fresh and new but I didn’t have many of the ingredients. Instead of running to the store, I used her concept and came up with my own variation.
Start by peeling your vegetables. This isn’t really necessary for carrots, so suit yourself with those. Cut into bite-sized chunks. The parsnips require the extra step of cutting out the core. Even though parsnips are slightly higher maintenance, they add a distinctive flavor and took the starring role in my salad. Mix all your veggies in a large bowl with enough olive oil to coat, a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 2 t finely chopped rosemary, salt & pepper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay down a sheet of aluminum foil on a large baking sheet. Spread the veggies in a single layer and cover lightly with foil. Bake for 20 min, remove the foil and bake for about 25 minutes more. Your veggies should be tender and golden around the edges. Set aside to cool.
To prepare the dressing — with a mortar and pestle, mash a large clove of garlic with 1/2 t salt. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk together with 2 T vinegar (I used white wine vinegar) and 6 T olive oil. When the veggies have cooled down, move them carefully into a bowl and toss with about 2T of the dressing.
Thinly slice savoy cabbage making a comfy bed for your roasted vegetables. Toss this with remaining dressing, spread on a plate, cover with veggies, top with fromage blanc or goat cheese and chopped nuts (I used roasted pistachios, not local, but again, I had them on hand).
Simple, delicious and new to me.