My husband and I have visited San Francisco many times. Each time we visit we try to eat at new restaurants. One time we decided to have dinner at a steak restaurant, part of a national chain with a good reputation. Our dinner lived up to the reputation and we could have eaten it twice.
“What’s the vegetable this evening?” I asked the server.
“Roasted carrots and onions,” he replied. “It’s the only vegetable we have.”
While carrots and onions didn’t sound too exciting to me, I ordered the veggies and a side salad. As the server approached our table I could smell the steak and the vegetables. Both smelled fantastic and were fantastic.
Instead of starting with the steak, I took a bite of the veggie mixture, and nearly swooned. The slightly brown carrot chunks were sweet and the onions had melted into brown ribbons of gooey flavor. I wouldn’t have been upset if the roasted veggies were my entire meal, and enjoyed them as much as the steak.
Boiling veggies can reduce flavor, whereas roasting them brings out flavor. Jennifer Armentrout, in her Fine Cooking website article, “An Essential Guide to Roasting Vegetables,” says this cooking method has several advantages. It is “fairly quick and hands-off,” she writes. Armentrout thinks adding a dash of lemon juice brightens flavor and she also tosses veggies with Moroccan spices, or olive oil infused with rosemary and thyme. Garlic and soy sauce may add punches of flavor.
This cooking method also allows you to do your prep work hours ahead. For best results, cut the vegetables into uniform pieces. To prevent the vegetables from sticking, line the pan with non-stick foil, parchment paper. or coat it with baking spray. Make sure the veggie chunks are coated with olive oil. Roast at a high temperature, anywhere from 400 degrees to 475 degrees.
I had family members over for Sunday dinner recently and we had charcoal-grilled steak. I also served this side dish. Nobody asked for seconds on steak, but all, except one, asked for seconds on Roasted Carrots and Onions, and cleaned out the serving bowl. Here is my recipe.
2 pounds of carrots
1 very large yellow onion
3 tablespoons light olive oil (more if you think you need it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a rimmed pan with baking spray and set aside. Peel the carrots and cut into one-inch chunks. Scatter the chunks in the pan. Remove the paper skin from the onion and cut in half. Set the flat side on the cutting board and slice each half into crescents. Scatter the onions over the carrots. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil. Using your fingers, toss the carrots and onions a bit to distribute the oil evenly. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Roast for 30-45 minutes, flipping the chunks with a spatula half way through the process. Remove from oven when the veggies start to brown. Makes six scrumptious servings. These veggies also go well with chicken, fish, pork, and ham.