“Fire-roasted vegetables” have long been a favorite of mine, from sliced potatoes to Brussels Sprouts to cauliflower. However, cooking them to restaurant-quality perfection requires some different thinking, especially if you want to do a relatively large batch.
Some things that tend to go wrong:
- On the grill, uneven cooking – a problem especially with potatoes
- In the oven, overcooking – a problem especially with broccoli
- In a pan, too greasy – even with nonstick, and the cooking is also uneven
So, how do we accomplish that real, fire-roasted flavor without the attendant problems?
We forget this key feature of our ovens: the broiler.
By laying out our vegetables on a large, flat baking sheet, we can broil them to that fire-roasted goodness at home while avoiding many of the pitfalls of other methods. Plus, done correctly, you can knock out a vegetable dish in just a few minutes.
Fire-Roasted Cruciforms (Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc.)
- 2 bags of frozen vegetables from your favorite store
- 2 tbsp high heat cooking oil like canola oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Herbs and spices of your choice
- Cooking spray or oil mister
- 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice, depending on your preference
- Large mixing bowl
- Baking sheet
- Large slotted spoon
- Fire up your oven’s broiler to get it warming up.
- Thaw the vegetables however you like in order to get them to room temperature.
- Drain and dry the vegetables by putting them on a towel and soaking up any surface moisture with gentle patting.
- In a large bowl, add the oil, salt, pepper, and spices. Stir well.
- Add the vegetables to the bowl and mix well to coat the vegetables.
- Spray the surface of your baking sheet with the cooking spray.
- Using the slotted spoon, scoop the vegetables onto the baking sheet, making sure to leave excess oil in the bowl.
- Spread out the vegetables to an even layer across the sheet, then put in the oven for 3 minutes.
- Add the vinegar or lemon juice to the mixing bowl with the excess oil and stir with a whisk.
- At the 3 minute mark, check the vegetables. If not done, rotate the sheet 180 degrees and roast for another 1-2 minutes. Your oven’s broiler temperature will dictate how fast this goes – if you know you have a super nuclear oven, err on checking sooner rather than later.
- Repeat checking and rotating every 1-2 minutes until they’re roasted to your preference.
- Remove the vegetables from the heat and add back to the mixing bowl with the oil and vinegar mix. Stir to combine.
Secrets and Tips
Whatever vegetables you choose, make sure they’re at room temperature so that they cook quickly.
With potatoes, you may want to slice and parboil them first; depending on your oven, they may burn before they cook all the way through.
With the cruciform family, especially broccoli and Brussels Sprouts, there’s a fine line between done and overdone, so check frequently.
I like the baking sheet method for one other reason: you can make large batches, and have good leftovers the next day you can add to salads and other dishes.
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