Roasting – Fast & Slow
Roasted vegetables are delicious. The inherent sweetness brought out by the high temperature of the oven combined with that smokey blackened char on the vegetables’ edges makes for an irresistible combination.
Roasting in the summer can be a little too hot, at least in California, so I tend to roast the most in the winter like I am now. Still, I wondered if I might be able to find a way to roast more quickly and efficiently to avoid keeping my oven on high for so long. With this goal in mind, I set out to do a head to head roasting trial using my traditional slower method and a sped up stovetop assisted version.
First, I set out to roast Brussels sprouts, the fast way. To make this dish you’ll need:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil (the regular kind, not extra virgin)
- 1-2 tsp kosher salt
- 1-2 tsp ground black pepper
First you’ll want to preheat your oven to 450 degrees. This can take a while and once you see how good these vegetables look, you won’t want to wait any longer than absolutely necessary, I’m sure of it.
Slicing Sprouts – halves & quarters
Start out by running your sprouts under cold water and peeling away any damaged leaves. This shouldn’t be too many, maybe 1-2 leaves per sprout.
I slice off a bit of the browned bottoms of the sprouts, too.
Next step is to slice them into bite sized pieces – halves for small sprouts and quarters for the larger ones.
Salt & pepper your sprouts
When you’re all done chopping your sprouts, toss them into your skillet. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet.
They generate high heat in an even distribution and can be placed directly into the oven. Just make sure your skillet is pre-seasoned otherwise they take a while to properly cure.
Next you’re ready to season your sprouts directly on the stovetop. Drizzle your olive oil over them and toss. Next add your salt and ground black pepper to taste (1-2 tsp of each).
See how nicely they’ve browned in the skillet?
Next you’ll cook your sprouts in the skillet on the stovetop until the pale green surfaces start to brown.
This happens pretty quickly, so keep an eye on them and toss with a metal spatula every few minutes to make sure they’re not burning.
You should be done in about 5 minutes.
This step is your shortcut. You’ve developed that tasty crisped edge that takes so much longer in the oven in just 5 minutes!
Now you can place them in the oven and roast them the rest of the way in just 10 minutes.
All done and ready to eat!
After about 10 minutes, your sprouts will be perfectly browned and ready to serve.
Next up, roasted cauliflower!
Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Jalapeño
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lemon (half sliced, the other half for juicing)
- 1-2 Tbsp minced pickled jalapeño
Fortunately, the sprouts and the cauliflower both roast at 450 degrees F so your oven should already be set and ready to go if you started with the sprouts.
Now, this may be too elementary for you, but just to make sure we cover our bases, I thought I’d share how I approach a head of cauliflower. It’s a somewhat unwieldy vegetable, after all.
First, I remove the large stem with a sturdy and sharp knife. The stem is tough and you don’t want to slip. I happen to use a J.A. Henckels 8 inch knife.
Removing the cauliflower stem
Next, you’ll flip the cauliflower over and start paring the florets from the stalk.
Separating the florets
Once your florets are all separated, you can chop them into smaller bite sized pieces.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we’re ready to season and roast them.
Drizzle the cauliflower with your olive oil in a large bowl. Toss and then add in your minced jalapeño and sprinkle with salt.
Add olive oil, jalapeño and salt
After tossing to combine, spread your seasoned florets onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I sliced half a lemon and added the sliced to the pan to infuse some lemon oil during the roasting process.
Ready for the oven
Roast for 20 minutes, toss with a spatula and then continue to roast for 15 minutes more. Squeeze your remaining half of your lemon over the cauliflower just before serving.
Ready to eat!
So which roasting method won? For me, it’s a draw. The quick method with the stovetop head start steamed the sprouts so they were a little softer than with the longer oven only method. That said, they had a delightful sweetness that I think was brought out by that stovetop heat. The time savings were great, too! The oven only method yielded a nice firmness to the cauliflower but took a good bit more time. All in all, you can’t go wrong. Any roasted vegetable, fast or slow, is a winner in my book. Hopefully you’ll feel the same way after trying these recipes out.