Wow. Has it ever been a long time since I posted a blog entry. This one’s a doozy, so brace yourselves. I probably wouldn’t be posting now, except that I believe Jeffrey needs a little guidance on how to roast some satisfying and tasty veggies.
Actually, I believe that everyone needs some roast veggies in their cooking repertoire. They are just too versatile: eat them hot, room temperature, or cold; they’re a complete dish on their own and make a great supporting player in soups, salads, omelettes, pasta, rice, polenta, hash… and whole lot of other dishes.
This is how I make Roasted Vegetables.
First, gather some supplies. I use
- a cutting board & knife
- a big baking sheeting & stirring implement
- three or more types of veggies
- salt, pepper, oil and something sour.
In this case, the veggie role is played by potatoes/onions/red peppers/carrots and the oil/sour role is played by some salad dressing I wanted to use up.
Cut everything up. I like relatively firm potatoes so I cut them larger than everything else. I only used one onion (they were huge) and I stole half of one red pepper to use in chili.
This step is optional, but I like to see how pretty the veggies look together, so I mixed them up.
Pour on the oil/sour mix. I usually use equal parts of oil and a vinegar (or lemon juice), but salad dressing works just fine, too.
Mix well. The veggies need to be thoroughly coated*. The oil coating helps conduct the heat; in effect frying the food in the pan. A few puddles on the bottom of the pan is okay, but the vegetables should not be taking a bath in salad dressing.
Salt & pepper the bejeezus out of the veggies, shake the pan to get a more-or-less single layer, and the veggies are all set for the oven!
Turn the oven to whatever setting gives a temperature of about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. No need to be terribly precise here. Less heat + More time = More heat + Less time (more or less; although the latter will char the edges of the vegetables more.)
This is what the vegetables looked like after another 20 minutes (40 minutes total), and a quick stir to expose a different side of the vegetables to the dry oven air. The temperature in my oven is 475 degrees.
This is what the vegetables looked like after a final 20 minutes (60 minutes total). The temperature in my oven is 450 degrees. I test a potato and declare the dish done.
Sometimes I cook my veggies until the onions are all but black–yummy–but this isn’t one of those days. The vegetables are still good: moist and withered, with some tasty crusty** bits along the edges.
I forgot to take a picture of what the veggies looked like on the plate, so you’ll just have to imagine that. Sorry! Here’s the finished dish: But, trust me, they are good.
* Vegetables will roast just fine with lot less oil. Just make sure that they are well-coated. I’ve had a lot of success with a 3/4-full gallon-sized zip top bag with a tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice. When doing this, it’s usually a good idea to grease the bottom of the pan with to help with cleanup.
**Yes, the pan is crusty, too. It seems like cleanup should be intimidating, but it really isn’t. Just put water in the warm pan and soak it overnight. A quick pass with the scrubber sponge and the pan’ll be ready for the dishwasher.