Many people find fulfillment in extolling the virtues of raw vegetables. And certainly there are many virtues to be found in the crunchy fresh flavor of, say, a red bell pepper, a home grown carrot, or a certain beautiful cucumber currently sitting in my fridge.
Clearly the cucumber is not going to benefit from anything except me eating it. But peppers and carrots, and about a hundred other vegetables, while they can be greatly enjoyed while eaten raw, seem to have drunk a magic addiction potion when you pull them out of the oven and sink your teeth into that perfectly roasted flesh.
Roasting must be done at a high temperature, 425-450 degrees at least, to work its magic, which is simply to pull the sugars out of the veggie and caramelize those sugars on its surface. Hence the need for the high heat.
Of course my wonderful mother is to blame for the roasting craze I have found myself in for the last few years, but this post was inspired particularly by a fantastic meal she cooked just last night which proves you can pretty much roast anything.
She started out with leeks by poaching them lightly in plain old water. Those suckers are tough and need a decent amount of cooking. However overcooking just completely turns them to mush. So, she poaches them for literally two minutes, just to make sure when they roast it will be all the way through.
She chopped green peppers and fresh tomatoes and I helped her wash the kale. She tossed those with oil, sage, thyme, lots of lemon juice, s+p, and I don’t know what else. There were also some defrosted meatballs (freeze, freeze, freeze people, it will save your life) plus those leeks layered right on top and a good sprinkle of cheese. Then she roasted this pile of goodness, and we devoured it. As it should be. All is right with the world.