For all but the winter months, Saturday morning means Farmers Market for us. We are incredibly fortunate to have a vibrant farming community and, three times each week, the opportunity to get our hands on some of the best food you can imagine. This week we found beautiful asparagus, strawberries, romaine, spinach, chard, green onions, and a dozen eggs.
Naturally, dinner that night included a sheet pan of simply roasted vegetables including the asparagus.
My family loves roasted vegetables. In fact, there are several vegetables the kids didn’t think they liked until I roasted them (I’m looking at you Brussels sprouts).
Of course, you can roast just one vegetable, potatoes for instance, but I am often inclined to roast several different vegetables at once.
The trick is getting them to all be done correctly at the same time. But a few rules-of-thumb makes it easy.
Tonight I looked around the kitchen and also found some beautiful organic rainbow carrots, potatoes, and cremini mushrooms.
First off, I preheat the oven to 400°F.
The size of your vegetables also affects how long they’ll take to cook. I tend to chop or slice most into bite-sized pieces. But there are exceptions, the asparagus today for example. Because they are fairly small in diameter, like green beans are as well, you can consider them small enough already. Just wash them, snap the ends, and lay them out in a single layer on the sheet pan.
A carbon-steel blade vegetable peeler makes quick work of the carrots and, if you so choose, the potatoes (I like the potato skins myself). I used to buy more-expensive Y-peelers but then I noticed so many restaurants using these and now I’m a fan. I buy a three pack maybe once a year. (Be aware, the blades tend to rust eventually, even the expensive ones.)
When the vegetables are this good and fresh, I keep the seasoning as simple as I can. A lazy drizzle of good olive oil, a little kosher salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. That’s all. Juice from a fresh-squeezed lemon or a little balsamic vinegar is good too (but I have a kid who doesn’t like lemons so I often serve lemon wedges separate on the side).
Now, getting them to all finish up out of the oven at the same time is where the magic starts to happen. Different vegetables take longer than others to roast.
Potatoes, carrots: about 45-50 minutes.
Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions: about 30-35 minutes.
Asparagus, sliced bell peppers, green beans: about 15-20 minutes.
Mushrooms, tomatoes: about 10-15 minutes.
To make it happen tonight, I put the potatoes and carrots on the sheet pan and set the oven timer for 25 minutes. Then the asparagus went in for 5 minutes. Then the mushrooms and the timer’s set for the final 15 minutes. This way it’s all ready to serve at the same time and, working the clock backwards, you can figure out when any other supper dishes cooking needs to start and finish as well.
A little brown, a little char, it’s all good.
And yes, there was Hollandaise sauce waiting on the side — fresh asparagus almost demands it at our house. I’ll cover that soon.
Have you ever noticed the better the ingredients the less you have to cook them?