Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Roasted Vegetables or Tubers
Thanks to some commenters on the Purple Puzzle Place blog, I've discovered a new favorite way to cook many kinds of vegetables: roasting.
Roasting works well for cauliflower and for just about any kind of root vegetable. So far I've tried it with potatoes, carrots, jicama, and lotus root, as well as our favorite cauliflower. Yams, taro, turnips, squash, parsnips, cassave (yuca) roots, and many other vegetables should work just as well.
The basic recipe is pretty simple:
Preheat the oven to about 475 degrees.
Cut your vegetable(s) of choice into approximately 1 inch chunks. Put them into a plastic bag and drizzle your favorite healthy oil over them. Just shake and squish the bag to evenly distribute the oil.
I use about 1/4 cup of olive oil for a whole cauliflower or 6 potatoes--you want just enough to coat the vegetables.
Spread the oiled vegetables in an uncovered baking dish. I usually use a 9 x 13 glass dish. If you can get the vegetables in a single layer they will cook a little better, but if not just spread them as thinly as possible and stir a little more frequently while cooking.
Bake at 475 for about 15 minutes, then stir. Bake for another 15-30 minutes (depending on the vegetable) or until the vegetables are getting tender and browning on the edges. Stir every 10 minutes or so.
Some vegetables I like to cook until they're getting almost black on the tips and edges, but you can adjust this to your taste. Cauliflower is particularly good this way, as it carmelizes and develops a savory rich flavor with hints of sweetness. Even my family members who "hate" cauliflower will eat it roasted this way.
For extra flavor, you can add some leeks or onion, a clove or two of minced garlic, herbs, spices or salt and pepper. I like to mix various vegetables and flavorings for variety, and just sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
You can chop the vegetables and coat them with oil ahead of time. I've done this with olive oil, garlic and dill on potatoes and carrots. The oil coating kept the potatoes from browning and they absorbed the flavors well. I cut up a big batch and refrigerated half to bake later, and it tasted just as good baked two days later as it had originally.