Roasting Is In

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Roasting food in the oven warms your house with eminent heat, fills the kitchen with mouthwatering aromas, yields minimal dishes, and requires little attention once in the oven. This method of cooking is a simple, healthy way to prepare meat, fish, and vegetables.

Roasting is generally done in a preheated 400-degree oven, but temperatures may vary from 325 to 500 depending on what you’re cooking. Unless you are slow roasting a large cut of meat, many meals can be prepped in less than 20 minutes and ready to eat in less than one hour. Once the food is in the oven, you are free to do other things. Just don’t forget to set the timer!

My favorite foods to roast are vegetables: Brussels sprouts, romanesco, cauliflower, broccoli, winter squash, sweet potato, fingerling potatoes, parsnips, eggplant, asparagus, beets, fennel, and onion. Most vegetables can be prepared by simply chopping into bite size pieces, coating evenly with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper and throwing them onto a roasting pan. Arrange veggies in a single layer so they roast and caramelize rather than steam. Save yourself cleanup time by lining the roasting pan with parchment paper. If you’re looking to add flavor, try sprinkling in some Herbs de Provence or other dried herb mixes. Because roasting achieves rich caramelized flavor, children often find they like vegetables that they had turned down in the past.

Brian Keane, a personal chef and nutrition expert for over 15 years, roasts food for his clients daily. Whether, roasting fish, meat, root vegetables, spicy peppers, or garlic, he favors this cooking method because it ensures that “you retain the nutrients, vitamins, and flavors.” He notes that whereas “grilling can char the fat on meat, changing the chemical composition and turning it carcinogenic, roasting cooks meat slower preserving the integrity of the fats and making the meat more tender.” Brian always roasts meat fatty side up so the fats seep into the meat as it cooks keeping it moist and flavorful. As for vegetables, Brian confirms that roasting wins over steaming, sautéing, or boiling in the way of retaining nutrients.