So with farmers’ markets starting to come into full swing here in the ‘burgh, it’s time to talk produce; veggies that is. If my dear Mother was still alive and she heard me say “I love roasted veggies” she would have washed my mouth out with soap for fibbing as her severely picky child would rather cut off her arm than eat a veggie. Yeah… I was that kind of child. I hated veggies. Well okay, I ate corn and potatoes but those weren’t real veggies in my world as they tasted awesome and only cucka tasting things were veggies. You know, like onions and tomatoes.
Oh my how times have changed. I would rather eat a tray of sea salted roasted veggies than a steak or mushroom burger than a fat beef burger. What happened to that finicky girl that squinched up her nose at pretty much everything that was not pb&j or pizza??? I’ll tell you what happened – she grew up and gave veggies a fair shot. Now don’t get me wrong – I still have issues with some veggies. Like I will not eat beets or slices of raw onions. Have I tried a beet? Yes – canned and they SUCK! Now raw onions I’m weird about. Like if you put a slice of it on my sandwich I will immediately take it off but if it’s minced up super teensy I’ll deal with it. It’s a texture thing. So as I grew up and expanded my foods I realized two magical things happens to veggies when you roast them.
- Their natural sugars in them caramelize the veggies making them sweeter.
- Roasting them draws out the moisture thus increasing the flavor of the veggie.
Okay so here are the basic steps when it comes to killer roasted veggies.
- Squash – most squash varieties take the longest to roast. To properly roast squash slices you’re looking at 45 minutes at 425F
- Roots (stuff that grows in the dirt) – here we’re talking about those veggies you have to pull up out of the dirt: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, yams, etc. To properly roast these you’re looking at 45 minutes at 425F
- Flowers – These in the garden world are known as “Brassica flowers“. These are your things like broccoli, turnips, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and so forth. To properly roast these florets or pieces you’re looking at 25 minutes at 425F
- Shrooms – oh how I love roasted mushrooms!. These little beauties you’re looking at 25 minutes at 425F
- Squash – most squash varities take the longest to roast. To properly roast squash slices you’re looking at 45 minutes at 425F
Now this, to me, seems pretty basic but I was surprised that many don’t consider size when they roast veggies. Yes people size matters here. When you chop, cut or slice your veggies for roasting you want them pretty much all the same time. I mean if you cut a piece 3″ big and another a sliver obviously the sliver is going to be done waaaaaaaaaaaay before the big size. So what you end up with is either a done sliver with a super not done 3″ piece of a perfect 3″ piece with pretty much a mushy sliver.
Pan ’em up baby & seriously give them their space!
So we know size matters and that one is not like the other so you need to put them on the like veggie pans. Put whatever takes the same amount of time to roast on the same pan but for the love of God, give them their space. Don’t overcrowd them by trying to fit 47 pounds of food on a single tray. No you need them all to be single layer.
Salt is your friend – no for real, it is!
Give you veggies a drizzle or 4 of GOOD olive oil plus your seasonings. For me I love it simple – sea salt and black pepper.
Give ’em some heat
Just pop your tray(s) in the oven and roast away. Easy, huh?
Now if you’re like me you have to sneak one from the pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven. Yes it’s hot, yes you blow on it and yes you say never again though we both know you’ll do it the next time. But when you do this you’re actually ensuring that it has the right amount of seasoning. All that’s left to do is plate them and add more seasoning if you want.
And any leftover veggies – PERFECT the next morning in your fritata!
You were right Mom, veggies are awesome. They don’t suck!