Monday, December 18, 2006

Roasted Vegetables

There could not be a simpler method to prepare vegetables than roasting. These are simply tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, coarsely ground black pepper and fresh thyme, spread on a jelly-roll pan, and roasted for about forty-five minutes, or until each vegetable is knife-tender. If ever you are feeling devoid of vitamins or nutrients or are simply looking for a way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, prepare this recipe. It is delicious! The recipe can be adjusted and applied to a variety of vegetables so long as each vegetable is of similar density. Here, however, the red bell pepper is an exception: the peppers caramelize nicely with the extra cooking time and moreover add beautiful color to an otherwise dull mix. Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetables
Serves 4

1 medium-large sized carrot, peeled
1 medium-large sized parsnip, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled
5-6 large shallots, peeled
1 medium-large sized fennel bulb, fronds and rough end removed
1 large red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes into pieces approximately 1½ inches thick. (The shape isn’t that important—in fact, irregular shapes look nice—but to ensure uniform cooking, try to cut all the vegetables into approximately the same size.) Keep medium-large sized shallot pieces whole and cut large shallots in half. Cut the fennel bulb into medium-sized wedges and cut the bell pepper into 1-inch irregularly-shaped cubes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the thyme leaves, toss with enough oil to nicely coat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and rearrange vegetables, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven again, test a sweet potato and a carrot to make sure each is knife-tender. If vegetables need more time, return to the oven again and test every five minutes until done. Remove from the oven, taste, adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary and serve immediately.