I stole this idea from Luisa: roasting root vegetables with leeks for a good, long time until everything caramelizes. She said it turned out so tasty her son was actually eating daikon radish, with relish! I had just about written off daikon radish as a vegetable I would just never like, but the long roasting made me reconsider. This really does transform the ugliest, crankiest vegetables of winter into something extraordinary. Luisa, feel free to chime in to tweak the below recipe.
- Start by chopping our vegetables into bite-sized pieces, more or less. You'll want to chop the softer vegetables larger than the hard. Try: rutabagah, turnips, diakon radish, carrots, parsnips, celeriac.
- Then add leeks: cut off the greens, split lengthwise to wash inside, and then chop crosswise. I also added a few roughly-chopped garlic cloves.
- Toss everything in olive oil and sea salt, spread over a cookie sheet, and roast at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. You'll want to stir the veggies every 30 minutes.
Full disclosure, Jasper did not relish these veggies, alas. However, Lane and I thought it was a standout. In fact, Lane pointed out that what is most appealing about this dish is its umami--that fifth taste that helps you feel satisfied after eating something. Lane's theory is that we tend to overeat meat in search of this sensation.
I'm so glad Stella commented last week about the new studying showing that people who eat red meat every day die sooner. Along with sugar, Americans eat too much meat (especially red), and not only is it unhealthy, it's also envirnomentally unsustainable. But I think if we want to embrace a more plant-based, sustainable diet it's imperative that we find more ways to bring out the umami in vegetables.