Roasted Mixed Vegetables
I used to be all about high-heat roasting, but the great chef Ana Sortun taught me to “slow it down, let it cook.” That lesson applies here. By roasting the vegetables longer at a lower temperature, the spices infuse them without burning and the natural sugars caramelize beautifully. Because vegetables are so easy to prepare, inexpensive, healthy, and delicious, I purposefully roast them in big batches; they keep nicely in the refrigerator and are worth having on hand for dinner all week long. In fact, I pull them out of the fridge to eat straight from their containers for midday snacks and even breakfast. The produce mix here reflects my preferences, but you can use any combination of your favorite vegetables. The proportions are for about 5 pounds of raw vegetables total. While you want to cut all the vegetables into roughly the same size so they cook at the same rate, you can play with the shapes to make the dish look more interesting. Try slicing at an angle or cutting long sticks.The flavors in this master recipe are all about balance— whole fennel seeds soften in intensity and counter the heat of Aleppo pepper; sumac’s tartness is rounded out by the warmth of cinnamon.
Sumac Roasted Vegetables with Fennel Seeds
Lior Lev Sercarz, from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (10 grams)
2 teaspoons sumac (7 grams)
1⁄2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika; 2 grams)
1⁄2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (1 gram)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese (1 gram)
Mix together the fennel seeds, sumac, pimentón, Aleppo pepper, and cinnamon.
3 tablespoons vinegar (try honey vinegar or sherry vinegar)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
12 large Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
6 large radishes, scrubbed and quartered
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
5 baby beets, scrubbed and quartered
5 baby turnips, scrubbed and cut into 1⁄2-inch wedges
3 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 large shallots, trimmed and cut into 1⁄2-inch wedges
1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
1 large celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two half sheet pans with foil.
Combine the spice blend, vinegar, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in a very large bowl and stir to mix well. Add the Brussels sprouts, radishes, garlic, beets, turnips, carrots, shallots, sweet potatoes, and celery root and toss well until evenly coated.
Divide the vegetables between the prepared pans and spread them evenly. Roast, stirring the vegetables and switching the positions of the pans halfway through, until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Drizzle with more oil, season to taste with salt, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Variations and Ideas
The vegetables in the recipe can be changed up according what is best in season. If there any leftover roasted vegetables you can use them to make this Roasted Vegetable and Parmesan Frittata that uses the summer version of the Sumac Roasted Vegetables.
Recipe from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz.
Photo © Thomas Schauer
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