Monday, October 28, 2013

Roasting veggies: Just short of a controlled burn

White eggplant, potatoes,  green peppers, carrots and
onions;  roasted 30 minutes at 450 with olive oil, S&P.
Next time I'm making a big platter of roasted vegetables, I'm going to know how to tell when they're ready:  When Mary yells, "Go look, I think they're burning!" I'll know that they've got about 10 minutes to go yet.

As I've roasted a fair share of our urban garden's limited bounty this summer, I've learned a thing or two about the easy, delicious process of converting them into nutritious, healthy vegetable candy by cutting them into chunks, tossing them with oil, salt and pepper, and roasting them at 400 to 450F for a while.

So how long is "a while"?

The best answer is, "until they look and smell done," but I've found that, pretty much irrespective of the oven heat within that 400s range, they can take as little as 20 minutes or as long as 45 minutes.   The key, as the subject suggests, is keeping them just chort of carbonizing into hard, cinder-like bitter black chunks, while getting them to the next step before that: Caramelized brown around the edges, crisp on the outside, while steaming and bursting with natural veggie flavors within.

It can be done. I'm just about convinced that roasting is one of the best things that humans can do to make almost any veggie delicious. Broccoli may be an exception, but I'm still working on that.

Tonight's rendition (pictured) was pretty good, about 30 minutes at 450, but I let panic get the better of me and pulled them before they were as caramelized as they should have been.  I'll leave 'em longer next time!