Tuesday, August 3, 2010

roasted root veggies

One of my most used recipes is this one for roasted root vegetables out of the How to Cook Everything cookbook by Mark Bittman. It is very easy, very customizable, and the end result looks a little fancy and is delicious. I love that I can choose whatever vegetables appeal to me. I take the author's advice and usually include carrots and onions in the mix along with some kind of potatoes. I personally also try to always add turnips and rutabagas, since I don't use these great tubers enough otherwise.

For the batch I prepared and photographed above, I used a mix of fingerling potatoes and miniature onions procured from the Molto Farmer's Market here in Las Vegas. This weekly event was started by Mario Batali and his restaurant team as a way to bring fresh sustainable produce to the area. On the day Stefanie and I visited, we also picked up some purple carrots, black radishes, fermented black garlic (heavenly!), heirloom tomatoes, and some other wonderful treats.

Regarding the recipe, you will see that the directions are specific about the quantity of vegetables to use, but for a long time I have measured by how much will fill my 10-inch cast iron skillet. Of course, cast-iron isn't required, but I do think it is the best choice if you have one because some magic happens there. The other personal touch I have been adding lately is improvising a mustard sauce to have on the side. If you are interested, I give some approximate proportions for that at the end.

Roasted Root Vegetables

4 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. mixed root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, shallots (leave whole), and onions, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch chunks
Several sprigs fresh thyme or about 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 head garlic, broken into cloves (Leave the garlic unpeeled.
You peel each clove before you eat it.)
Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the olive oil in a large roasting pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to low. When the oil is hot, add all the vegetables (except the garlic), along with the thyme or rosemary. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and cook them briefly, shaking and stirring so that everything is coated with oil. Place the pan in the oven.
2. Cook for 30 minutes, opening the oven and shaking the pan once or twice during this period. Add the garlic and stir the vegetables up; at this point they should be starting to brown. If they are not, raise the oven temperature to 450°F.
3. Continue to cook, stirring and shaking every 10 minutes or so, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, at least another half hour. If the vegetables soften before they brown, just run them under the broiler for a minute or two. If they brown before they soften, add a few Tbs. of water to the pan and turn the heat down to 350°.
4. Garnish and serve hot or at room temperature.

Simple Mustard Sauce
6 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
Whisk ingredients together until they are completely amalgamated into a creamy sauce. A small blender like the Magic Bullet is ideal here.


  1. nice entry, thanks! nice and easy. Also stylish pics. I just looked up "fermented black garlic" on Wikipedia and found out that sometimes it's put into energy drinks, due to its antioxidant properties. Also apparently there's something called black garlic chocolate that can be made. hmm...

  2. I've never seen a purple carrot, but I'll find one if only to see if it stays purple when roasted! (Can't tell from the photo.)
    ps: the mustard sauce sounds great! can't wait to try it...

  3. Thanks for the comments! That is interesting about the antioxidant properties of black garlic. I can imagine that it might be good in a chocolate, since it is so rich and kind of caramel-like. I think we just spread it raw onto focaccia, with some olive oil or butter, and it was amazing.

    The purple carrots are orange under the skin, so, I suppose it would be best to just roast them unpeeled. Please tell me if you try the dish, and also if you still have your herbs growing outside to add in to the mix.

  4. I love the combo of roasted root veggies and mustard vinaigrette! These look fantastic.

  5. Sounds great! I'm excited to get my kitchen all set up and to see what interesting veggies I can find in the markets here.