Monday, August 26, 2013

Recipe: Root-a-Bake-a

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While I was visiting my cousin last month (the one who joined me in all my literary adventurings in Minnesota), she produced this lovely, simple recipe for a filling and delicious meal. Much like our last post of hot chocolate, it would be particularly enjoyable in winter, but is just as yummy in other seasons. With only salt, pepper, and olive oil needed for seasoning, the flavors of these root-and-other-starchy veggies really shine. A longish baking time gives all the flavors time to mingle and meld and become something really delicious and comforting. Take advantage of the sweet corn crop while it’s available in the grocery store—that and the onion really make the dish, in my opinion.

The Great Root-a-Bake-a!

1 sweet potato
1 russet potato
1 onion (yellow or white)
1 zucchini
1 rutabaga
2 ears sweet corn
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F, and assemble your ingredients. Pretty easy, eh?

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  2. Get out a baking sheet. One with sides (so not a cookie sheet), or vegetables will go everywhere. Artfully drizzle some olive oil on it, and tilt it back and forth to make pretty patterns and cover more of the surface.

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  3. Wash and peel the sweet potato and the rutabaga. While you’re at it, wash the russet potato reaaaaally well too, because you won’t be peeling it. Slice the sweet potato and then cut it into smaller chunks. I aimed to keep each slice about 1/4” thick so they’d all cook at the same rate, and then cut each one in half and sometimes in half again at my whim. Do the same with your washed-but-not-peeled russet potato, and then dump them all on the baking sheet.

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  4. Slice the rutabaga thinner than the sweet potato because it requires more time to cook. Smaller size = cooks faster, so it will be done when the potatoes are! Then, cut it into smaller chunks, like so:

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  5. Keep piling the veggies chunks on the baking sheet as you go. Peel and slice the onion, and break the layers apart with your fingers as you add them to the sheet.

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  6. Wash your zucchini (best to make it not an overgrown and seedy one from the garden), and slice it into discs. Chop each disc into a pretty little semi-circle, and add to the mountain of veggies.

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  7. Shuck the corn husks and silk, and then find yourself a sharp knife to slice the kernels off the cob. It’s a bit of a pain to do, but it tastes much better than corn from a can, I promise! Distribute them atop all the other veggies.

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  8. Next, drizzle about 2 Tbsp. olive oil over the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper.

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  9. Slide the baking sheet in the oven, and let it all roast for 45-60 minutes. Take it out twice during the baking and use a spatula to rearrange the veggies for even roasting. When you can stick a fork in the potato slices and they feel soft rather than hard and crisp, it’s done! (The delicious smell pervading your house will also let you know it’s getting closer to “done” time.) Serve it as a side dish or as a meal itself, and after sampling feel free to add more olive oil/salt/pepper to your tastes.

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See? Simple, easy, yummy. I’m thinking next time I might add butternut squash to the mix. What would you add to a root bake like this one? What late summer vegetables are gracing your table these days?


Susan said...

I might add some mild radishes. They roast very well, and they'd give the dish some purple (I'm all about purple vegetables). But more importantly: where did you find such a small rutabaga? The only rutabagas I've seen have been giant doorstoppers that want to rival winter squash in size! And considering that a rutabaga curry reheated really awkwardly on me once, I haven't wanted a rutabaga that would stretch more than one meal.

Alyssa L. said...

Mmm, radishes! I bet the roasting would mellow their bite. Or garlic! Roasted garlic! As for rutabagas, I guess the Southwestern soil is not to their liking and thus they are very small. That was one of the bigger ones at the grocery store! Or maybe they are out of season? What is rutabaga season??

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