How To: Roasted Vegetables

Welcome to How To. In this video series Kevin Van, of both Providence and The Dining Society, will guide us through simple, delicious at-home recipes. If you have a recipe request, let us know in the comments.

Kevin Van's Roasted Vegetables
This recipe is a little different from others in the side-dish category in that it borrows some old school French techniques like searing, slow-roasting, basting, and utilizing the pan juices to create a sauce -- the kind of stuff you would typically do to a large chunk of protein. I doubt many people, even vegetarians, take the same care with vegetable cookery as they would a roasted piece of meat, which is a shame. One of the advantages of cooking with vegetables is the diversity of flavors and textures you can achieve, and by adapting these techniques to a simple dish of roasted fall veggies, you can help each type of vegetable retain its character and vibrancy.

Serves 4 as a side
1-2 lbs vegetables (try using baby turnips, baby carrots, baby beets, fingerling potatoes, brussels sprouts, onions, sunchokes, or parsnips in the winter), depending on size, either left whole or cut into 2" pieces
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Canola oil for searing
2 tbsp butter
3-4 cloves garlic, whole and smashed
a couple sprigs of fresh thyme
good quality balsamic vinegar*

Preheat your oven to 350º.

If you're using larger vegetables like parsnips or squash, clean and cut the vegetables into a somewhat consistent size, roughly 2". Or alternatively, I recommend trying to find small vegetables like baby turnips, baby carrots, baby beets, fingerling potatoes, etc., and roasting them whole, as long as they're roughly the same size.

Heat a large, flat skillet over high heat with enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, and working in batches, sear the vegetables in the pan, making sure to rotate them so they color evenly. Once the vegetables have taken on some color, transfer the vegetables from the pan with a spatula into an ovenproof baking dish large enough so that the vegetables are spread evenly in one layer.

Discard the used oil from the pan. Put the pan back on medium heat with the olive oil, butter, garlic, and thyme, and begin to heat these ingredients. Once the butter is foamy and the garlic and thyme are aromatic, pour this mixture over the vegetables. Toss the vegetables to coat them and season liberally with kosher salt and pepper.

Transfer all of this to the baking dish. Finish cooking the vegetables in the oven, checking every 15 minutes to "baste" the vegetables and check for doneness. Once the vegetables are uniformly tender, separate the vegetables from the pan juices using a colander set over a mixing bowl. Make a sauce by combining the reserved pan juices with balsamic vinegar, in a ratio of about 3:1 juices to vinegar. To serve, arrange the vegetables in a serving dish and pour the sauce over, making sure to coat each vegetable.

*Good quality balsamic vinegar, the aged 10+ year kind of stuff, is great for enhancing simple dishes like this. But for everyday use, a bottle of balsamic vinegar from your supermarket works just fine. I like to take a cheap bottle of balsamic vinegar and make it fancy by emptying it into a sauce pot and reducing it over medium heat by half, which gives it a great viscosity and intensifies the flavors.


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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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