CSA Week Nineteen: Roasting Vegetables

roastSince we don’t have a new crop this week, I thought I would write about one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables over the fall and winter months.  Roasting vegetables is the equivalent joy of grilling in the summertime.  Some vegetables I never enjoyed before, asparagus, carrots, turnips, were turned around for me once I tried this method of cooking them and some vegetables I never considered roasting, like broccoli, have become demanded favorites.  Honestly, from this point on through the winter we will usually roast vegetables once a week and the crops we see coming this time of year are prime for the roasting.

Trust me, roasting browns your veg nicely on the outside, concentrating and sweetening their flavor in a way that even avowed veggie haters find hard not to like—and that goes for even the most unpopular of vegetables, like turnips and Brussels sprouts. While raw garlic is pungent, roasted garlic has a sweeter, milder flavor. You might be hard pressed to choke down a clove of raw garlic, but you can spread six cloves of roasted garlic over a slice of bread just as you would butter.  But what’s especially great about roasting is that it’s fairly quick, hands-off, and much of the prep can be done ahead of roasting time. You can cut up the vegetables (except potatoes and sweet potatoes) in the morning, if you like, so by the time you’re ready to roast, all you have to do is toss them with oil and seasonings, spread them on a pan, and check on them occasionally as they roast.

Even the simplest and easiest of dressing works, most times we just use good olive oil and either, basil, thyme or rosemary, freshly ground salt and pepper, and of course garlic lovers we are, there is always lots of garlic.

Here are some quick guidelines to get you started:

  • If you are roasting various veggies together, cut them into similar sizes to ensure cooking consistency.
  • The heat needs to be high. I generally roast at 425-475 degrees F. The high temperature ensures that the veggies will cook quickly; they’ll brown on the outside, but stay tender on the inside.
  • Don’t overcrowd. Give each piece a chance to cook!  If you are cooking for a group, opt to spread your vegetables onto two pans.
  • Big chunks are bad. Smaller pieces have more surface area that will be exposed to the heat, giving them a better chance to crisp and brown.
  • Some people drizzle oil on top of the vegetables in the pan, but I always mix them in a bowl prior to placing on the pan to ensure that they are well coated.
  • Baking pans with low sides are best; metal is optimal. Line your pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Glass or ceramic will work fine as well.  Generously oiling the bottom of your pan or paper will eliminate sticking!!
  • Check and toss the veggies halfway through cooking. As you head towards the end of your cook time check for tenderness with a fork and toss again.

Here is a quick guideline to various vegetables and their approximate cooking times from Good Housekeeping.  You can find a more detailed chart broken down by cooking times with combination suggestions from the Heal With Food website.

Here is a step-by-step visual recipe for roasting from The Pioneer Woman, I love her recipe posts because she gives you a photo of each step.

MORE YUMMY RECIPES:  Balsamic Roasted Vegetables, Roasted Vegetables With Fresh Herbs, Maple-Ginger Roasted Vegetables, Cider-Roasted Vegetables, Roasted Carrot, Parsnip and Potato Soup, Omelets with Roasted Vegetables and Feta, Roasted Vegetables with Sage Butter, Honey-Roasted Veggies and Gnocchi, Winter Herb Pasta with Roasted Veggies, Roasted Broccoli and Garlic 

 

 

 

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