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Roasting vegetables? It's a way to intensify their flavors ... and provide some surprises.

One secret to making food taste good is to intensify the flavors. Bradley Ogden, a proprietor and chef of The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, California, has made an art of intensifying the taste of vegetables by roasting them.

Ogden gets help from a large wood-burning brick oven at the restaurant-but you can achieve similar results at home by cooking at high temperatures in a conventional oven. Vegetables will be sweet and have intense flavor. Once in the oven, the vegetables need little attention. All the recipes have make-ahead options.

Roasted onions are real winners because they are so versatile; Ogden cooks them by the panful and serves them plain to go with meats or to use in a variety of dishes. Here, we show ways to incorporate them in soup, in a ham and cheese appetizer salad, and in a butter relish.

One surprise from the oven is artichokes, first steamed, then roasted. Concentrated seasonings blended with vinegar and oil form a flavorful marinade. The artichokes are served cool or at room temperature. Apples and onions roasted with winter squash, then whirled with broth and juice, create a smooth, golden soup. Roasted Artichoke Salad
 4 large (4- to 4 1/2-in.-diameter)
 2 cups regular-strength chicken broth
 1 teaspoon each dry rosemary
 leaves, dry oregano leaves,
 mustard seed, and chili powder
 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive or salad oil
 4 medium-size (about 3/4 lb. total)
 Roma-type tomatoes, cored,
 seeded, and chopped
 1/2 cup minced red onion
 2 tablespoons chopped italian

Break small coarse outer leaves from artichokes. With a sharp knife, cut off thorny top; with scissors, snip any remaining thorny tips off leaves. Using same knife, peel stem and trim base. Immerse artichokes in water, swishing up and down; shake from stem end to remove water. Place artichokes in a 10- by 14-inch roasting pan. Mix broth, 1 cup water, rosemary, oregano, mustard seed, and chili powder; pour into pan. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake in a 450 deg oven until artichoke bottoms are tender when pierced, about 50 minutes. Uncover and bake artichokes until just tinged with brown, 8 to 10 minutes longer.

Lift out the artichokes, draining, and put in a rimmed dish; reserve juices in pan. When the artichokes are cool enough to touch, ease the center of each open and pull out a few of the tiny thorn-tipped center leaves. Then scoop out the fuzzy choke in the center with a teaspoon. Discard tiny leaves and choke.

Over high heat, boil pan juices, uncovered, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from beat, stir in vinegar and oil, and pour liquid over artichokes. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up until next day.

Lift artichokes onto individual rimmed plates. Mix tomato, onion, and parsley into artichoke juices. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the liquid into the center of each artichoke, then divide remaining mixture among the plates. Serve cool or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 245 cal.; 6.4 g protein; 16 g fat,- 26 g carbo.; 168 mg sodium; 0 mg chol. Oven-roasted Onions The onions taste good as is, or in some of the following recipes.
18 small (2-in.-diameter, about 5 lb.
 total) onions, peeled
 2 tablespoons each butter or
 margarine, extra-virgin olive or
 salad oil, and balsamic vinegar
 Salt and pepper

In a 10- by 14-inch roasting pan, combine onions, butter, oil, and vinegar. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 deg oven, gently turning onions over about every 20 minutes, until they are very soft when pressed and cut edges are richly browned, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve onions hot or at room temperature, adding salt, pepper, and pan juices to taste. Or use onions and juices in following recipes (you'll need 2 tablespoons of the juice for ham and cheese with ovenroasted onions). If made ahead, cover and chill up to 1 week. Serves 6 to 9.

Per onion: 63 cal.; 1. 3 g protein; 3. 1 g fat,- 8.4 g carbo.; 15 mg sodium; 3.4 mg chol. Oven-roasted Onion Soup
 1 or 2 ham hocks (about 1 lb. total),
 sawed in half lengthwise, rinsed
 4 slices French bread, each about 1/2
 inch thick and 4 inches wide
 About 2 tablespoons extra-virgin or
 regular olive oil
 8 oven-roasted onions (recipe
 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
 About 2 ounces parmesan cheese,
 shaved thin with a cheese slicer
 Salt and pepper

In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine ham hock and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the meat is very tender when pierced, about 2 hours. If made ahead, let cool, then cover and chill up to 2 days; reheat until warm to continue. Meanwhile, lightly brush baguette slices with olive oil and place in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan. Bake in a 400 deg oven until golden, about 5 minutes; let cool, then package airtight up to 8 hours.

Lift hock from pan, reserving liquid. When meat is cool enough to touch, pull it from bone. Set meat aside; discard bone, gristle, skin, and any fat.

In a blender or food processor, whirl meat, onions, and enough reserved liquid to make as smooth a puree as possible. Pour puree through a fine strainer into pan with remainder of reserved liquid. Rub mixture through strainer with a flexible spatula to extract as much liquid as you can. Discard residue.

Bring soup to boiling on high heat and stir often, uncovered, until reduced to about 4 1/2 cups. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Ladle into 4 wide soup bowls. Accompany soup or top with toasted bread and the shaved cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 392 cal.; 20g protein; 22 g fat,- 29 g carbo.; 1,143 mg sodium, 51 mg chol. Ham and Cheese with Oven-roasted Onions

Serve as a first course or a light meal, it's the equivalent of a sandwich.
 8 oven-roasted onions (recipe
 precedes), at room temperature
 pound thin-sliced cooked ham
 About 1/4 pound parmesan cheese,
 shaved thin with a cheese slicer
 1 slender baguette (1 lb.), broken into
 4 equal pieces
 Coarse-grind pepper
 Watercress sprigs or parsley
 2 tablespoons each balsamic vinegar
 and reserved oven-roasted onion
 juices or extra-virgin olive oil

On each of 4 salad or dinner plates, arrange 2 onions, equal amounts of the ham and cheese, and a piece of the bread. Sprinkle a little pepper onto each portion and garnish with watercress. Mix vinegar and reserved onion juices and add to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 618 cal; 30g protein; 20g fat; 81 g carbo.; 1,569 mg sodium; 46 mg chol. Roasted Onion Butter Spoon onto simply cooked hot meats, poultry, or fish.
 2 oven-roasted onions (recipe
 precedes), minced
 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, at
 room temperature
 1 tablespoon each balsamic vinegar
 and dry red wine
 About 1 teaspoon coarse-grind

Stir onion, butter, vinegar, wine, and pepper together until well blended. Makes about 3/4 cup. Allow 1 to 2 tablespoons for each serving.

Per tablespoon: 37 cal; 0.3g protein; 3.4g fat; 1. 6 g carbo.; 32 mg sodium; 8.3 mg chol. Roasted Golden Squash Bisque
 About 2 1/2 pounds yellow-fleshed
 winter squash, such as a whole
 butternut or piece of banana
 2 tablespoons each butter or
 margarine and extra-virgin olive
 or salad oil
 2 medium-size (about 1 lb. total)
 Newtown Pippin or other tart
 apples, cut in half and cored
 2 small (about 3/4 lb. total) onions,
 unpeeled and cut in half
 1/2 cup hazelnuts
 3 cups regular-strength chicken broth
 1 cup apple juice or cider

If squash is whole, cut it in half lengthwise; if shell is hard, tap the blunt edge of the knife with a mallet to drive it through. Scoop out and discard seeds and strings. Melt butter and oil in a 10- by 15-inch rimmed pan in a 400 deg oven. Lay squash, skin down, in pan; put apple and onion halves beside squash. Bake until squash is very tender when pierced and the flesh is tinged with brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, in an 8- to 9-inch-wide pan, bake hazelnuts in the same oven until golden under skin, about 10 minutes; shake occasionally. Place nuts in a towel and rub to remove as much of the brown skin as possible. Lift nuts from towel, chop coarse, and set aside.

Let squash stand until cool enough to touch, then scoop flesh from shell. Also scrape apple from skins, and pull off onion skins; discard shell and skins. Put squash, apple, and onion in a blender or food processor. Add enough broth to help make a very smooth puree.

Pour puree, remaining broth, and juice into a 3- to 4-quart pan. Stir over medium-high heat until steaming. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days; reheat to continue. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with nuts. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 281 cal.; 4.5 g protein; 16 g fat; 36 g carbo.; 74 mg sodium; 10 mg chol.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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