Tag Archives: roasted vegetables

The great scape

3 Jul

If you are the type found loitering at outdoor farmers markets this time of year, or perhaps wandering the righteous aisles of locally bent organic produce shops, then it is impossible that you have not been seeing a ton of these beauties lately.

Imfrigginpossible!

Of course, they won’t be attached to the plant, as here in the field.

Rather, they will look like so, chopped from the mother ship for the purpose of both utility and pleasure.

We’re talking garlic scapes here, an above-the-ground part of the garlic plant that rises in early summer. Scapes are removed so that the garlic bulb (or head, as we say in the meatball trade) can develop more fully.

I’m not going to name names here, but there are people, good and decent ones even, who toss their garlic scapes in the compost pile, or even into the trash. I have had a good long talk with several of these muttonheads over the years. In all cases I have been assured that such behavior would be halted going forward.

Last fall I myself planted one hell of a lot of garlic for this year’s crop. (Here’s the link with instructions, if you’re interested.) And so the garden is overrun with scapes. I’ve harvested all of them (an entire crisper drawer in the fridge is filled with scapes) and will likely have many a fine meal resulting from their use. (Here’s a pasta dish recipe where I used scapes instead of garlic cloves, for example.)

However, my favorite way to enjoy garlic scapes doesn’t require a recipe at all.

Just throw a bunch of them in a roasting dish, season with salt and pepper, and douse with a good olive oil. Toss into a 350 degree oven for around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep moistened by the oil.

And you’ve got yourself one very respectable side dish.

Well worth loitering at your local farmers market right now while the scapes are around.

How to roast peppers

1 Jul

I go through a lot of these things, especially in the summer. Far more sweet peppers get run through the outdoor gas grill than anything else I can think of.  And practically every one of them is whole roasted.

This won’t take but a minute, I promise.

All you do is fire up the grill and bring the temperature to around 400 degrees F or so. Then lay the peppers down and close the cover; flip them a couple times so that they cook evenly. (This works just as well in an indoor oven, but use a pan for the peppers to catch any moisture that leaks out.)

Once they’re cooked toss the peppers into a brown paper bag and roll the top of the bag closed. This helps the skins to separate and peel off more easily.

Leave the peppers in the bag until they cool to room temperature, then peel them, remove the inner seeds and slice into whichever size pieces you prefer.

Toss the peppers with some garlic and extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and any herbs you might like. (Many people use vinegar as well, but I don’t.)

And there you go. You can eat them right away or they’ll keep for a while in the fridge.

Around here they don’t last more than a day or two, and so pretty soon it’s back to the grill for another round.

Roasted eggplant parm

11 Jan

WE’RE NOW ON FACEBOOK. Please see box at right.

I grew up in a place where eggplant was breaded and fried.
And it was good.
But while preparing an eggplant parmigiana for some house guests over the holidays, I did not crack an egg or touch a single crumb of bread.
This was also good.
Behold, the best roasted eggplant parm I have ever made. (With apologies to certain members of la famiglia; you know who you are.)
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Peel the eggplant (or not; I go both ways on this) and cut slices that are at least 1/4-inch thick (I go thicker than that even). Then it’s onto a baking sheet with a good dose of Kosher salt, ground black pepper and olive oil.
Roast until nicely browned. (I flipped the slices once so that both sides could char a bit.)
Make a simple sauce. This one’s got olive oil, garlic, hot pepper, a couple anchovy fillets (yes, anchovies), a handful of basil and some San Marzanos. And it only cooked for about half an hour.
Layer it all up, with fresh mozzarella and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Bake in the oven at 375 F for around 45 minutes and that’s that.
I like my eggplant parm at room temperature, so it always sits quite a bit before I’ll dig in.
On this particular occasion, a couple of house guests tried to stage a premature and completely unauthorized taste while it was still hot. These efforts, I’m happy to report, were thwarted.
As for the guests, let’s just say they won’t be trying that again anytime soon. Capeesh?

Swordfish quickie

15 Jun

I was minding my own business last night, blogging the furthest thing from my mind (imagine that!), when all of a sudden a pretty good concoction winds up on my dinner plate.

Naturally, I had to share.
Simple stuff here, folks. Took a nice piece of swordfish, rubbed it with extra virgin olive oil, a little salt and pepper, then coated it with cornmeal and shoved it in the oven.
On the side is a combination of roasted vegetables I do a lot: cabbage, carrots, red onion, garlic (of course) and some hot pepper.
That’s it.
Beautiful day here in Maine and so me and the Gootz are off on a ride.
Buona giornata!