You know those magical moments in cooking – when you put something together, almost haphazardly, and it turns out to be sublime.
That happened to me recently when a friend came over to cook dinner at my house using the contents of my fridge as our guide – possibly my favourite way to spend time.
I’d just bought a large, good-looking cauliflower at my local supermarket that we decided to roast and eat along with some leftover chicken in its own gravy, baby boiled potatoes and a big salad. Frequent visits were made to my deck to pluck fresh herbs for adding to a dish where applicable.
I sliced off medium-sized florets from the cauliflower (I used about half of it), placed them in one of my earthenware Portuguese baking dishes, then tossed them with olive oil and kosher salt.
I turned the oven to between 375 and 400F, then roasted the veg for about 30 minutes. I was quaffing some rather good Argentinian Malbec as I worked (my new favourite wine) and think it was about that length of time. The results were out of this world. Slightly browned and crispy on the outside, the inside was crisp yet tender to the bite.
Since then, I’ve been roasting every fall vegetable in sight. My current favourite is leeks cut in chunks, then topped with tomatoes and roasted in the same mixture of olive oil and salt for about an hour and a half at 350F. Sometimes I cover them near the end and add a little white wine. Sprigs of fresh thyme are a nice addition.
A delicious twist is to roast a mixture of vegetables, e.g. eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms (all cook at roughtly the same rate) then sprinkle them with crumbled goat cheese and return to the oven or place under the broiler until melted and slightly browned.
As usual, dear fellow cooks, you’re welcome.