Fit for a guest

Fit for a guest: A tray of roast veggies

A simple dish of roasted veggies with a wow factor.

If you came to eat at my house, chances are you may be offered a plate of roast veggies. Especially if it's a weekday and I have been in a rush. Because it's as simple as this: 

Throw some veggies on a roasting tray, smother with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs/spices, and stick in the oven. 

Now there is time to chat to my guests (or my other half, or play with the dog), have a glass of wine, perhaps make a salad. 60 mins later I have a colourful tray of delicious veggies that has everyone licking their fingers. Invariably guests react with some kind of 'wow' and ask for the 'recipe'. Which is basically the line above.

Too simple to be that good? Trust me on this one. But I'll share a few more details to make it even easier to replicate in its full glory:

Use any veggies you like or happen to have (except soft leafy greens).

  • any root veggies like beetroot, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots swedes, turnips, beetroot, celeriac, etc...
  • onions or leeks (keep them in chunky pieces to retain juiciness)
  • other dense veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, squash, celery, fennel, aubergine, peppers, etc..
  • 'juicy' vegetables, like tomato and courgette

Do not be tempted to go heavy on the potatoes (I often leave out potatoes altogether). The more of a mix the better: this adds layers of both flavour and texture. Different colours also make it look impressive. 

Chop them up roughly. Remember: the smaller the pieces the quicker they will cook.

 Make a point of using up any spare bits of veg you may have hanging about a great way of clearing the fridge!

Add plenty of olive oil, herbs & spices and mix up well to coat all over.
Sturdy herbs like oregano, thyme or rosemary, and spices like cumin, coriander, allspice and fennel work nicely, I also like a sprinkling of smoked paprika sometimes). I usually add a small amount of water ( say a few spoonfuls) to prevent sticking. I also like adding a good squeeze of lemon juice (it's a contrast thing!)

Add the veggies in stages, depending on how quickly they will cook.

  • really dense roots like potatoes and beetroot first
  • say 10 mins later most other things
  • add cooked pulses or toppings like cheese and fresh herbs at the end, say last 10 mins.
  • (this is so you don't end up with undercooked potatoes and already charred tomatoes)

Optional: add substance (i.e. protein).

  • add chickpeas or lentils (precooked or from a tin)
  • crumble feta cheese on top (any cheese really, but feta is just adds the perfect sharp salty contrast to the sweet veggies)
  • add pieces of meat (something quick cooking, like chicken thighs, or meatballs) put in at the start so it cooks through

It's done when everything is cooked through (test with a knife) and bits start crisping up at the edges, roughly 45-60 mins. Err on the side of more rather than less roasting this makes everything tastier (anybody else hating undercooked potatoes?)

Scatter over fresh herbs

Serve as is with a side of salad - a dish fit for guests!
(of course it can also be a side to anything else you like)

Categories: COOK


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