It’s that time! We present another spectacular dish from this month’s guest blogger, our friend and co-worker Maureen. And as Mo demonstrates, there’s nothing quite like a roasted vegetable. Pick a vegetable, any vegetable. Add some salt, pepper, oil, throw in a hot oven and…Boom. Bam. Bomb. So good! We’re so elated she picked this particular one to feature.
We were just reminiscing about the delicious roasted brussels sprouts served at the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival evening dinner. Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. When you hear about this green, miniature, cabbage-shaped, bulb-thingy, images of your 12-year-old self come to mind, screaming in agony at the pain your parents inflicted on you by forcing you to eat said green thingy. Now that your taste buds have matured—and your mind is open—try revisiting the spout. You’ll be glad you did. Tell us why Maureen…
I love the fall. It’s finally cool enough to use the oven, and my local farmer’s market is abundant with the offerings of Indian summer and autumn. I took my cue from the season and brought home some fingerling potatoes, brussels sprouts, rosemary, red onion and garlic. Modest earthy staples. I also made a quick detour to the store and bought some bacon, but that is totally optional.
This basic casserole is so simple and versatile that it can be varied upon endlessly for vegans or the everything-goes crowd. I use the term “casserole” in the broadest sense by virtue of all the ingredients being oven-roasted together in a Pyrex dish. It can be minimized to just brussels sprouts, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil, or gussied up with meats and cheeses to make more of a “main.” There were a few things I would do better next time, and I’m happy to share the learning curve with the forgiving readers of Duo Dishes.
Prep work consisted of slicing the brussels sprouts in half and the fingerlings into 1-1 1/2″pieces (the tiniest ones I left whole – so cute!). I sliced the red onion length-wise (with the grain) 1″ long and 1/2″ wide and the garlic cloves into long thin slices. Next time I will leave the onion and garlic pieces larger – the extended roasting time rendered them down to almost nothing. I love food that is browned, even blackened on the edges, so more on the roasting technique later because I did learn a thing or two! I chopped several sprigs of fresh rosemary while heating my large cast iron skillet on the stove top. I browned the fingerlings in olive oil for about 8 or 9 minutes, making sure to brown all sides. As small as those little taters are, I found them to be quite fire. Perhaps they have a low water content. While the skillet was still hot, I did a quick-cook with the bacon though I don’t know if it was necessary. I just wanted it to have some crisp and not end up soft-cooked. I cut it up into small pieces.
Next I tossed everything in a big bowl and drizzled in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. I gave it a few good stirs and put it all down in a 7″ x 9″ Pyrex. My old O’Keefe & Merritt stove doesn’t measure the temperature so exactly, so I’ve learned to use it more intuitively. I’ll estimate the oven was about 475 degrees. I will also estimate that I cooked the dish for 50-60 minutes. Perhaps the photo tells you how I like it – nice and browned. I should have been stirring it all up a few times throughout cooking. The top layer took on a slightly dry appearance, so I drizzled in a little more olive oil. However, when I removed the dish later, I discovered everything beneath the surface needed more roasting time and that the added oil was just kind of sitting on the bottom of the dish. So I gave it all a good stir and put it back in for another 15 minutes (or so).
In the end everything was roasty-toasty to (near) perfection. I did remove a few pieces of charred onion and garlic from the surface – more frequent stirring probably would’ve prevented that. The flavor profile was lovely and amazing, earthy and heavenly all at once! I’m thinking for my encore (that’s a fancy term for leftovers) I will re-heat in the oven with freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano. Or perhaps I will crack an egg over the top and finish it under the broiler. Can’t wait.
Here is a list of the ingredients with a few measurements:
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1 pound brussels sprouts
5 strips bacon, flash-fried then cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium red onion, sliced
Several garlic cloves
Several springs of fresh rosemary, stems removed and finely chopped
Sprinkle of sea salt
Drizzle of olive oil
Thanks Duo Dishes for asking me to be a guest on your blog. I enjoy your food so much. Happy cooking and happy eating.