Friday, March 26, 2010

Recipe Fridays: Roasted veggie antipasto

You've probably noticed, I have a thing for throwing vegetables under the broiler.  It seems to really bring out the character and flavor of vegetables and make them infinitely more delicious, even for people who don't like said vegetables.  Here are four options for yummy roasted veggies, to be served individually as side-dishes or all together as an antipasto platter (perhaps with a certain yogurt salad?).  These all taste great warm or cold.

(These both use the same technique, but I recommend making them separately as they may require slightly different cooking times)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut cauliflower/broccoli into florets, removing any brown pieces, and leaving an inch or so of stem on each piece.  Cut florets in half or more so there are no large "heads" left.  Pieces should be approximately evenly sized, with a thin, wide shape rather than round top.  Line a rimmed cookie sheet with tinfoil.  Add florets and any little bits from cutting; spread out in single layer (use more than one sheet if needed).  Drizzle with olive oil, and top with salt, fresh-ground pepper, and chopped garlic.  Mix together with your hands.  Roast in the oven for ~30 minutes, stirring 2-3 times, until vegetables have softened and have large browned spots.  You want the vegetables to still have chew, but no crunch.  I speed this up by moving to the broiler after 15 mins.

Turn the oven to broil, or to a very high heat if you don't have a broiler.  Rinse asparagus, and snap off the bottom quarter of stems.  Lay on foil-lined cookie sheet.  Top with enough olive oil to coat, salt, and fresh-ground pepper.  Place under the broiler for ~10 minutes, stirring once, until asparagus is bright green and skin has a crackly, sizzled appearance.  Asparagus should still retain some crunch. (If it turns a lighter, blanched green after you remove from oven, it's a little overcooked, but will still be delicious)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shave off carrot skin with a butter knife (leave more behind than a peeler).  Trim carrot tops and tips.  Cut in half cross-wise.  Cut the thin half into quarters lengthwise.  Cut the large half into sixths or eighths to make sticks approximately the same width.  Place carrot sticks on oiled baking pan in one layer, and drizzle with melted butter and honey (2:1 butter to honey ratio).  Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper and stir to thoroughly coat, then spread out again.  Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring 2-3 times, and then under the broiler for 5-10 minutes until carrots are tender but still chewy and lightly browned in spots.

Portabella mushrooms
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove stems, and brush mushroom caps to remove dirt.  If desired, brush olive oil over the outside of the caps.  Place in baking sheet, pour about 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar into each cap, and a little more olive oil and chopped garlic if desired.  Salt and pepper.  Place in the oven for about 20 minutes until mushrooms are soft.  (To make a complete meal, throw a slice of fresh mozzarella on top and broil for 5 minutes, then serve over pasta.)  Slice the mushroom caps and refrigerate if desired (the flavor will become more intense).

Try adding seasoning like rosemary or thyme to mushrooms or carrots, caraway or mustard seeds to the broccoli and cauliflower.  Let me know in the comments if you find any good combinations!

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