Roasted Veggies

By Ann Fulton

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Roasted vegetables are very popular in our house. This was the rainbow of colors that went into the oven last night. In my mind, roasting vegetables is not a recipe but a technique. Here are some helpful hints:

* Oil rimmed baking sheet well and cut vegetables into approximately 1-inch chunks.

* LIGHTLY coat veggies with olive oil. Too much oil can actually make them soggy. Simply shake veggies around on a liberally-oiled baking sheet or spray lightly with olive oil mister.

* Sprinkle to taste with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

* Best tip for optimal browning: Take a minute to arrange vegetables cut-side down (skin up) so that the largest area of the flesh side will be in contact with the pan and get crisp and caramelized.

* Higher oven temperature–I prefer 425 degrees–will caramelize the veggies while retaining good texture (i.e., no mushy vegetables).

* Since it is the side of the veggie touching the baking sheet that will brown first, check for doneness by peeking underneath after 15-20 minutes of roasting. I tend to roast for less time than many recipes call for–just enough time to get good color and feel al dente when poked with the tip of a sharp knife. The key is to keep checking. Add 5-minute increments as necessary.

* If browned but not cooked through, stir and reduce oven temp to 375 degrees until cooked to your liking. This may happen when roasting larger pieces.

* Vegetables will brown faster when roasted on dark baking sheets. If you use a light-colored sheet and have trouble attaining a good degree of browning, try increasing your over temperature by 25 degrees. 

*  Similarly, non-stick baking sheets hamper the browning and caramelization process. 

* Always roast enough for leftovers. There are lots of great ways to reinvent them. More ideas ahead…

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