Monday, April 13, 2009

Roasted Roots

It's April in Seattle. This means a few tantalizing, sunny days sandwiched between 25 days of umbrellas and rain boots. This year, just for kicks, Mother Nature decided to play a cruel joke on us sun-starved Seattleites: she let it snow on April 1st. Ha ha, good one. Now I get April Fool's.

As long as this chilly, damp weather remains, I'll continue craving me some stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. Luckily yesterday, I had a beautiful assortment of farmers market root vegetables to play with: tiny potatoes, yellow
baby carrots, celery root, turnips and garlic. A few minutes of peeling and chopping, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a nice roast in the hot oven is all it took to turn that crunchy produce into sweet, caramelized heaven.

Simple dishes like this warm my soul and make me hopeful of what's to come.

Go ahead Mother Nature, bring it.

Roasted Roots
Simple oven roasting imparts an intensified, concentrated sweetness to root vegetables. Roast with a few sprigs of sturdy herbs (like rosemary) or toss with soft, leafy herbs (like parsley) after vegetables are cooked.

2 lbs root vegetables of choice, washed, peeled (if desired) and chopped
Whole garlic cloves, skin on
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a shallow, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place vegetables on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Spread to a single layer and roast in oven 40-50 minutes or until vegetables are tender, golden brown and beginning to caramelize. Be sure to stir once or twice during roasting.

*Serving ideas: roasted roots taste scrumptious alone, on pizza, in soups, as a sandwich filling with goat cheese or tossed with pasta.

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