Just as leaves turn from green to orange, our appetite changes from fresh to fire-roasted. It’s a good time to turn on the oven, and try one of my favorite recipes for Roasted Fall Vegetables adapted from The Vermont Country Store Cookbook, especially nice with a side of sausage, served over butternut squash ravioli. You might think that a vegetable platter does not need a recipe, yet too many cooks will mask vegetables with a fancy sauce, and this recipe to prove that vegetables, when slowly roasted, have extraordinary power to please.
Not every vegetable can be roasted with success, however, and this recipe reflects my tried and true medley, based on seasonal ingredients with eggplant, colorful potatoes, winter squash, and hearty endive. Dress lightly with olive oil, stick in a slow oven to roast, and head out to the garden to weed for an hour.
Improvise with the last gleanings in the vegetable garden, including leeks and carrots, and pick up winter squash and eggplants at the local farmers market, and add Endive, Radicchio and thick leaved kale or chard near the end of the cooking time.
Roasted Vegetable Platter
¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds assorted small potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, and whole
2 endive heads, cut in half lengthwise
1 small eggplant, cut into thick wedges
2 leeks, sliced in half and quartered
2 sweet peppers, red or green, seeds removed, cut in half
1 butternut winter, sliced into 1 inch sections
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Sprigs of thyme, oregano, or parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F. and adjust rack to middle position.
Pour a small amount of olive oil on the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, and lay the vegetables flat, with “cupped” side up to hold the oil you’re about to drizzle. The whole pan will be full, yet try to keep everything in one layer, tucking the vegetables close to each other so they remain succulent during the cooking process. This is the key, otherwise they may dry out.
Evenly pour the remaining olive oil over the vegetables. Tuck rosemary and sage sprigs into the vegetables, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Use your own judgment for how much to use of each; I prefer to be liberal with both salt and the ground pepper, since this can really give it good flavor.
Place vegetables in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and flip vegetables so they cook evenly. Turn oven down to 325°F., return pan to oven and roast for 30 minutes more, and then check to see if delicate vegetables are done. Remove vegetables that might be ready before others, placing them on a serving dish and tenting loosely with foil. Return pan to oven for 10 minutes more, or until all vegetables are done.
Serve on a platter, neatly and colorfully arranged. Garnish with sprigs of thyme, oregano, and/or parsley.
Ellen Ecker Ogden is the author of several books including The Complete Kitchen Garden and created the recipes for The Vermont Country Store Cookbook, published in September 2105.