By Cat, Oct 2016 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
I recently learned about this healthful method of cooking veggies from Fine Cooking’s newsletter (1). I usually braise most veggies on stove-top, as this is perhaps the most healthful method for cooking leafy veggies (applicable to other veggies as well). But in the fall and winter, it’s nice to have an excuse to turn on the oven…and this may well be the best way to cook root veggies like beets and carrots while retaining much of their nutrient value.
- Steaming step is similar to parboiling, to pre-cook the veggies prior to roasting, using the moisture in the veggies to provide the steam;
- Roasting step caramelizes the sugars in the veggies to enhance the flavors.
This method is great for root veggies (carrots, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.) but also for squash, some greens (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.), and onion family (onion, leek, garlic, etc.).
Summary of Method
This is based on Fine Cooking article by Laraine Perri (1), with additions of my my own.
Equipment: Rimmed baking sheet, parchment (to line the baking sheet when adding sugary flavoring such as maple syrup or honey), and foil (to seal in the steam).
Oil: Laraine recommends olive oil, but you could also use lard or coconut oil. Do not use ‘salad oils’ as they are from canola, soy, cottonseed or safflower, which are all very sensitive to heat and become rancid. Butter is also not a good option for the high heat of roasting, although ghee might be OK.
Seasoning: you can use just unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, but herbs, spices, citrus zest, minced ginger root, onions, leeks or garlic added to the mix enhance the flavor of the final product.
Oven temp: 425°F is recommended for most veggies; for those with high moisture content such as some squashes, a higher temp provides better browning. The author also recommends steaming high-moisture veggies for less time, and roasting for more time, for best results.
Tips: These are also from the original author (1), but as I experiment, I may add my own. [NOTE: color or bold emphasis is my own.]
- “Use a large rimmed baking sheet, not a roasting pan; the lower rim will allow for better airflow and superior browning once the foil is removed.
- For easy cleanup when including a sugary component like maple syrup or honey, line the baking sheet with parchment. Otherwise, direct contact between the vegetables’ surface and the baking sheet promotes best browning.
- Extra-wide heavy-duty foil makes easy work of completely (and tightly) covering a large rimmed baking sheet.
- To avoid exposure to the hot steam: Use tongs to lift off/remove the foil.
- Turn the vegetables once or twice after foil is removed for more even browning.
- To keep the browned exterior intact when turning or serving, slide a thin spatula under the vegetables if they’re sticking.”
The following is my interpretation, based on the five recipes included with Laraine Perri’s article (1).
- Preheat oven.
- Wash veggies and let them drain. Cut off green tops (such as for carrots, beets).
- You may choose to leave some veggies whole, such as young carrots; for larger ones, cut in half and/or into shorter lengths. Larger veggies may need to be cut in half or wedges, such as beets, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Broccoli and cauliflower can be cut into florets, if desired. Squash may be cut into 1″ cubes.
- Toss veggies with olive oil.
- Line bottom and up the sides of baking sheet with parchment, if using.
- Arrange veggies on top of baking sheet or parchment lining. Season with salt and pepper, plus other seasonings according to recipe (note that many of the seasonings – especially herbs – are added at the end, with other garnishes).
- Cover with foil, pinching it tight to the outer sides of baking sheet. Place in oven to steam 5 – 10 minutes (amount of time according to recipe).
- Carefully remove foil (using tongs to protect yourself), and rotate baking sheet.
- If sweetening with honey or maple syrup, drizzle it over the veggies.
- Roast to caramelize (10 minutes or amount of time according to recipe);
- Turn/flip over veggies and roast for another 10 – 30 minutes (according to recipe)
- Garnish with herbs/spices or other ingredients, for flavor (according to recipe)
Example recipes on Fine Cooking website:
- Steam-Roasted Butternut Squash with Crispy Sage (2)
- Steam-Roasted Carrots with Yogurt and Dukkah (3)
- Steam-Roasted Indian-Spiced Cauliflower (4)
- Steam-Roasted Potatoes with Oregano and Lemon (5)
- Steam-Roasted Root Vegetables with Maple, Sriracha, and Thyme (6)
- Fine Cooking recipe by Laraine Perri: finecooking.com/articles/steam-roasted-vegetables.aspx