Before you head for the beach, roast a pan full of tomatoes, peppers, fennel and garlic, add balsamic to their pan juices, then soft goat or ricotta cheese (or any soft cheese). A luscious serving of summer on a platter. Serve it up with bread, pasta, rice, spaghetti squash. With pasta, this was the center of our eating this past weekend and it was heaven. Once prepared, it’s ready for whenever and however you want to serve it. Vegetarian and healthy, but tastes rich and decadent. As sister-in-law Pam would say, it’s beyond.
Speaking of exquisite, swimming at Colman Pool on the beach at Lincoln Park in Seattle is one of the best things you can do for yourself this summer – or, wherever you are, your own local version of this. A sprinkler might do. The swim and the stroll to and from the pool is summer in a nutshell, and if you have this summer veggie roast waiting at home, even better. Dinner on the table in fifteen.
Summer Vegetable Roast Au Jus Recipe
This is truly an anything goes recipe. Make it your own. What makes this a standout is the deliberate use of pan juices and the addition of a little balsamic, creating a sauce, a dressing that sends basic roasted veggies over the top. Oh, and the cheese. Use more or less of anything, include zucchini, onion, olives, any combination you like. Same with the cheese, choose what you like. The following recipe is a description of how I put together this batch, which turned out to be a winning combo. We ate it with pasta over the weekend, every last morsel and drip of au jus, gone. Delish.
Serves 3 – 4 for a meal with bread, pasta, rice, appetizers for 6 – 8.
Ingredients: 3 C cherry or quartered tomatoes/ 1 poblano chile, 1 red pepper, each sliced lengthwise/ 4 cloves of garlic, slivered/ 1 medium bulb fennel, cored and sliced thinly lengthwise, include some of the fronds/ 1/3 – 1/2 C olive oil, salt & pepper/ 1 – 2 T Balsamic vinegar/ Fresh basil
These ingredients and summer produce of all kinds are available at local farmer’s markets.
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees/ Prepare and combine all vegetables in a large, shallow roasting pan/ Reserve the basil for later/ Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste/ Toss together until vegetables are coated with oil and seasoning/ Spread veggies evenly and roast for 50 – 60 minutes. Check & stir vegetables after about 25 minutes, return to oven/ Remove from oven when vegetables are soft and have begun to char a little around the edges/ Let cool for at least half an hour/ With a slotted spoon or spatula, remove vegetables from roasting pan to a serving platter, leaving the juices in the pan/ For the dressing, whisk Balsamic vinegar, 1 – 2 T, into remaining pan juices/ Place small spoonfuls of cheese around the platter, drizzle it all with the au jus and sprinkle with fresh basil/ Serve with garlic toasts, plain bread, pasta, rice . . . heavenly summer food, local and seasonal.
Cheese mixture: 1/2 C whole milk ricotta, 1/2 C fresh chèvre/ 1 T each fresh thyme & oregano/ Stir together and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just ricotta or goat cheese would be fine too.
Double batch caution: vegetables roast best in a single layer, though they can be crowded. Use two roasting pans when making a large batch so there’s plenty of room for veggies to roast and caramelize.
Thank you to Ross Dobson, Market Vegetarian, for inspiration. Checked this cookbook out from the library and like it a lot.
Poppy and I are gone fishin’ until September 2nd. Might do a posting, but then again, might not. In the meantime, grab some sun, have a picnic, go for a swim or a splash somewhere, build a sand castle, make applesauce. Eat tomatoes!!! Happy summer.