Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Magical Mystery of Roasted Things

Imagine with me, if you will, a crisp yet tender bite. A bite that is sweet, yet savory that leaves a hint of heat on the tongue but leaves you wanting more. Open your eyes and see the colors: bright orange, deep green and bold purple. What if this bite could complement any main dish? Could use any veg you have on had? Could be the perfect way to use up the end of harvest bits? It can.

This strange, magical bite is easier than you think. A simple act of tossing together bits of veggies with oil is all the prep needed. The key is temperature... and 425 degrees is the magic number. 

Roasting veggies brings to the surface natural plant sugars hidden deep withing their cells. These sugars caramelize leaving crispy bits on the surface while leaving a tender interior. Take this process one step further by adding a favored herb or spice. For example: carrots with parsley, potatoes with rosemary, green beans with thyme. Get creative and use cauliflower with some curry powder or broccoli with a creole seasoning. There are endless possibilities and pairings to try. 

There is no need to keep it to single veggies- mix things up. Toss several veg together and roast them in your favorite flavor combination. Be sure to keep the cuts close in size- I like mine rather 'rustic cut' meaning big pieces left rather natural. As for time, veggies about the size of a thumb roast for 20 minutes if you like them tender crisp, or 35-40 minutes if you prefer them softer. 

One exception is greens. Kale, spinach, mustards, and collards are amazing roasted-- but: add an acidic flavoring (lemon, vinegar, balsamic) with your seasoning; massage it in; roast only 10 minutes and they will give you a wonderful 'chip-like' result. 

Last tip- use parchment if you have it! I like the less messy results that come from lining the pan, otherwise you get to scrub a sheet pan-- yuk. 

To sum it up:

Oven 425 degrees

Veg cut 'thumb size' or 2" pieces

Parchment lined baking pan or lightly oiled baking sheet

Toss with oil and salt; add spices if desired
Greens get additional acidic element

20 minutes for crisp tender; 35 for tender



Hibiscus House said...

I love the roasted vegetables!

Dicky Bird said...

I love roasted veggies too.

Michele Scaife said...

It is my favorite way to eat veggies- until the summer heat takes over:)