Now’s the time to roast any vegetable, and I think I mean any vegetable. If there’s an exception I don’t know what it is. Maybe lettuce. Warm up the house, kick up the flavor, which caramelization via high-heat roasting accomplishes (the Maillard Reaction), and dinner, maybe two, is halfway done. It’s an efficient way to cook. Follow me.
First, ideally, visit a Farmer’s Market for seasonal vegetables. There are some deals these days – big bags of mixed root vegetables for under $10.
Prep vegetables: clean and peel, cut into whatever desired shape or size (cooking time will vary accordingly), toss or drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Place in a single layer on a large tray lined with parchment paper. Some vegetables, like beets, are enhanced with an additional splash of balsamic vinegar. Turn the oven on high, 400º – 450º, and roast for 30 minutes or so (watch them!). The veggies roast, turn golden, sometimes crispy if you play it right, and each morsel has knockout flavor.
I love French fries and roasted vegetables have that flavor note. Sweet potato fries? Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and then each half once again lengthwise. Slice each quarter into several long pieces, toss with olive oil, salt & pepper, roast at 425º for 10 minutes, turn pieces and roast for another 5 minutes, or until golden. Sprinkle with grated Parm, chipotle powder, or a little more salt.
Roast enough to make soup the next day, or, just make soup; eat them on the side with a piece of Loki salmon; chop them up and add to quinoa along with some nuts and a dressing and you have high protein salad; chop vegetables after roasting, add chicken or vegetable stock and make soup – purée it if you choose. I roasted beets separately, then cubed them, tossed with olive oil, more vinegar and dill. Enjoy as is, or add to green salad along with some goat cheese.
I’ve taken an array of bite-sized roasted vegetables to potlucks – people love them and seem to think it might be complicated cooking. I say it’s the French fry effect. Deep dark secret: olive oil, salt & pepper, high heat.
ALMOST FORGOT. 2010 Mixed Greens calendar giveaway continues through 1/24, at which time comments related to 2010 sustainability resolutions will be put in a hat. Drawing on the 25th for ten lucky readers – you might receive a tidy little calendar with photos and recipes. For free! For details see previous post, Mixed Greens 2010 Calendar Giveaway.