12 January 2012


At a little gathering at my house recently, I served this simple jumble of vegetables alongside an herb-roasted pork loin and some buttery-lemony blanched asparagus. The fact that dinner was served on pale green melamine lunch trays (thank you, flea market) might have really driven the fun factor through the roof. The vegetables, however, appeared to be the real prize and vanished quickly from the sheet pan. A friend emailed for the recipe and I just wrote it out -- figured I may as well post it. I assume that roasting vegetables is as second-nature to others as it is to me, but perhaps I assume wrongly. Either way, get yourself some root veg and get to it, friends.

Roughly, as I recall, it was....

three medium sweet potatoes (not peeled), cut into inch chunks
four carrots, peeled and cut into inch chunks
four parsnips, peeled and cut into inch chunks
a large red onion, cut into....you guessed it. inch chunks.

(say that five times fast: inch chunks inch chunks.....sounds like a freight train!)

Put all those inch chunks on a large sheet pan. Now this is crucial: if it doesn't all fit in one layer, if it's too crowded, spread it out on two sheets. We don't want steamed. We want roasted. We want caramelly edges and nigh-on-burnt bits. That's the stuff.

Now that your vegetables have some elbow room, drizzle with about four tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Throw on a couple tablespoons of chopped rosemary or thyme (either/both is great) and then throw some extra whole branches of either/both herbs on there for good measure and prettiness. Mixy-mixy with your hands, pop it into a 425 oven and roast for about 15 minutes. Play them some music while they get about the business of transformation -- mine seem to prefer Brazilian bossa nova. Remove and toss/flip/agitate with spatula to prevent too much stickage, spin the pan 'round for evenness' sake, then roast for another 15-ish. Just keep an eye on it and watch for your favorite toasty colors to appear.

Remove from oven, taste (duh) and adjust seasoning if needed. Devour, lick fingers, moan.