roasting: to cook ingredients uncovered in a dry, hot environment
Roasting is a style of cooking that almost everyone does whether they think about it or not. Tossing vegetables in salt and pepper and baking until they are tender and delicious. Roasting is another of my favorite techniques because it concentrates the flavor of the ingredients by removing moisture and caramelizing natural sugar in foods.
- Heat the oven to 400-450F
- Toss whatever you are cooking with a hardy amount of olive oil, salt, pepper any any other spices or herbs you want.
- Spread food out on a sheet tray leaving space between the food so as not to steam
- Roast in the oven until crunchy and brown
Things to know
- Things cook at different rates, so cut vegetables to accordingly—dense items (like carrots and potatoes) should be cut smaller than lighter veg (green beans, summer squash).
- Give the ingredients plenty of personal space. If they are heaped onto each other the moisture they give up will get caught and steam the veg as opposed to escaping and leaving a crisp exterior.
- Convection ovens create a thicker skin on the veg because the swirling air removes the moisture more quickly. When using convection drop the temperature of the recipe by 25F or so.
- Err on the side of overcooking your ingredients. Hold your nerve and cook things for a bit longer than you think—let the vegetables get a crunchy, caramel-y exoskeleton.
Hallmarks of Success
- Crunchy exoskeleton on vegetables
- Dark and caramel-y color but not burned
- Hearty and robust flavors
- If the final product is soggy or not deeply colored, it was probably roasted at too low a temperature or packed too densely on the pan. Try either bringing the temp up or spreading out on the sheet tray.
- If the final product is very burned on the bottom, the oven is probably cooking unevenly. Try rotating the trays or roasting dish throughout the cooking process (ever 20 min or so).