Thursday, July 07, 2011

Recipe: For the most delicious, can't-stop-eating-them veggies

The summer bounty of the Terra Bella CSA is tremendously good. We are enjoying our weekly share, which includes a dozen farm fresh eggs in a rainbow of colors (and species-- a couple of times we've gotten a lucky duck egg).

In past years, though, I've been overwhelmed sometimes with All. The. Veggies. Can I get a "WITNESSSSS"? Anyone else ever have a fridge with veggies you admire from afar but secretly balk at the prospect of actually eating?

Never fear. I have found The Recipe. It's basically all about roasting them tossed with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, a few twists of lemon pepper (I use Trader Joe's), a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar. They roast up, a few sugars in the veggies and in the vinegar carmelize up soooo beautifully, they get that roasty glow, they're the perfect bite size snack size, aaaannd-- they're gone. Any veggie I've tried preparing this way has come out so delicious, it's hard to stop eating them. Seriously!

That makes them a great contender for a midday snack as much as for a main dish (on a bed of salad greens with a tiny bit more dressing tossed in) or a side, perhaps for your tea sandwich. You can thank me after the veggies are all gone. Word of caution: I just made up this recipe. I'm a home cook who hearts approximating measures-- this is how my mom cooked too! I will measure stuff out meticulously for baking, but that's BAKING. This is easy summer living.

Delicious Roasty Summer Veggies

2-3 cups chopped veggies (broccoli and cauliflower in quarter size florets; zucchini squash sliced thin on a mandoline or diced; eggplant sliced thin on a mandoline)

ehhh, maybe 4-5 T extra virgin olive oil. Maybe more. Maybe lots more. Be pretty generous if you can.

3-4 big splashes of white balsamic vinegar (it makes a difference here; the white balsamic vinegar is not as heavy or aromatic as regular balsamic; it has the perfect balance of acid and sweetness for these kinds of veggies and light seasonings). More if you like it (it will add to the carmelly sweetness a bit, but too much will be -- too much).

5-6 generous twists of lemon pepper seasoning (or if you're going fully homemade on me, get out your mortar and pestle and grind together some peppercorns, sea salt, lemon zest, a bit of garlic)

1/4 -1/2 medium shallot, small dice

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a small bowl, whisk together everything but the veggies. Then pour over the veggies and toss, toss, toss. Shake the veggies out onto a Silpat or parchment paper on a baking sheet and put them on the middle rack. Let them roast at 400 F for, oh, maybe 10 minutes? Don't take them out! Just check on them.

Let them roast some more, maybe another 10 minutes. Put on a mitt and give the baking sheet a gentle shake. Are things looking browned at the edges? Take 'em out, let 'em cool for a minute, then have at.

If they're not quite looking golden brown, wait for it. Waaaaait for it. It's the whole point of these shenanigans. You want the end result to be slightly carmelized, with a slight acid bite, an al dente or slightly softer feel, and the glorious flavor of the veggies to shine.

Enjoy and tell me if you try it!!