The Missus has been trying to cut down on meat consumption over the last year and I'm really trying to support Her. However, there's just so much roasted vegetables, which we make twice a week one can really deal with. This started me off on trying other vegetables and greens, stuff like Chard, Kale, Celeriac, Rapini, even sauteing Collard Greens. Mushrooms now is a big part of the Missus' diet. I'll often now make protein for me and a large shared veg dish for us, or even something just for the Missus. We're also trying not to waste as much....and I had half a Kabocha staring me in the face. For New Years I'd made Kabocha Nimono using half the squash.....now I needed to do something with the other half. I'd also bought a bunch of parsnips most of which I roasted with potatoes....
Looking for some inspiration, I opened Yotam Ottolenghi's wonderful cookbook, Plenty. I really trust this cookbook, ever since I tried out the Mushroom Ragout with Poached Egg recipe and it turned out to be one of the best things I made all year. As fate would have it, I opened up the book to a recipe for roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes with caper vinaigrette.......I guess it was meant to be. I basically subbed the kabocha for the sweet potatoes and adjusted the cooking time.
For me, cookbooks tend to be a set of ideas and guidelines, though many times I'll follow the written recipe the first time through, making adjustments later. To me, Ottolenghi's book is more of an idea book. Using items I had on hand and adjusting for taste, this came out real well. The adjustments? I used 12 cloves of peeled garlic rather than a split bulb, kabocha for the sweet potatoes of course, replaced the fresh thyme and rosemary with dried thyme and oregano, two fairly large red onions instead of four, two vine ripened tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes, and I used honey instead of maple syrup in the vinaigrette. The recipe times the addition of the vegetables into three stages to make sure that everything is cooked, but not overcooked.
Speaking of the vinaigrette, the Missus initially didn't want me to use it, but I eventually wore Her down and She ended up loving what it added to the dish.....just a slight acid and mild sweetness, not enough to interfere.
Roasted Parsnips and Kabocha with Caper Vinaigrette
About a pound or a bit more of (peeled)parsnips cut into 1 1/2" - 2" long by 3/4" pieces
2 medium-medium large red onions cut into wedges
12 cloves garlic peeled but left whole
1/2 kabocha pumpkin sliced into pieces about the same size as the parsnips (leave the skin on)
2 tomatoes cut into eighths
3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Spitiko)
Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 375
- In a bowl coat the parsnips, onions, and garlic with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano.
- Spread on a baking sheet or roasting pan
- Roast for about 20-25 minutes.
- Coat kabocha with more olive oil and add to the pan, combining with the other ingredients.
- Roast for about another 30 minutes
- Add the tomato wedges to the pan and roast for about another 15 minutes. You may want to give everything a gentle stir then finish off. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
After adding the tomatoes put together your dressing.
4 Tb Capers chopped
1 Tb Honey
1/2 Tb Dijon mustard
3 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil - I used a low acidity Picholine Olive Oil for this
2 Tb fresh squeezed Lemon juice
Whisk ingredients together to emulsify.
Remove vegetables from the oven....I put everything into a nice cast iron pan which I intended to use at the beginning bt proved too small.
Pour dressing over the veggies and lightly mix.
This turned out well....I can only imagine what other combinations of root vegetables and herbs can be done in this manner.
I hope everyone had a great weekend!