by Georgia Chan Downard and Evie Righter
Roasted dishes are reliable, relaxing to prepare and require little more than the heat of your oven. When you roast, you can put dinner on the table without any fuss and with little fat. And when you roast, the flavor of food becomes concentrated and enriched, not obscured.
There are over 100 more reasons to roast found in the simple yet succulent recipes in Reasons to Roast by Georgia Chan Downard and Evie Righter. When it comes to roasting, the authors agree that no one method is best. It is not necessarily better to roast at a higher oven temperature for a shorter cooking time than it is to roast at a lower temperature for a longer time. The food being roasted determines the method. But whether you are making Roasted Lemon Chicken or Roasted Bing Cherries, there are rules to keep in mind: know your oven, check the ventilation in your kitchen, and use an instant-read thermometer, a heavy-gauge metal pan with a stainless steel wash, and a roasting rack for poultry.
Here are more roasting tips from the book:
1. Know your oven. Be sure the thermostat is calibrated accurately. If in doubt, test it yourself—before roasting anything.
2. Heavy-gauge metal pans with handles and a stainless steel wash are best for roasting. Enameled cast iron and enameled steel are both good, too. Avoid lightweight roasting pans, which can warp from the heat of a high oven.
3. In general, roast on the middle rack of the oven, where temperatures are more even.
4. If you don't own an instant-read thermometer for testing meats and poultry, buy one. Look for instant-read thermometers in specialty cookware stores and in the equipment section of better-stocked supermarkets.
5. A roasting rack is not necessary except for poultry. The rack ensures that the skin on the bottom of the bird roasts, rather than becoming soggy in the pan juices.
6. When roasting fish or seafood, choose jumbo over medium-sized shrimp and sea scallops over the smaller bay scallops to decrease the risk of overcooking. Choose fish steaks that are at least one inch thick. To roast fillets, you may want to add a coating of seasoned bread crumbs to protect them from the heat.
7. Let roasted meat and poultry stand, tented loosely with foil to keep the heat in, for 10 to 15 minutes so the juices settle back into the meat.
8. Remember that foods roasted at high temperatures, especially meat and poultry, will continue to cook after being removed from the oven.
9. Learn to trust your judgment. If something smells as if it is overcooking, chances are that it is. Your nose is a very reliable guide!
Sample Recipe from Reasons to Roast:
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
We love sausages, but panfrying them gets a little tedious—to say nothing of what it does to the stovetop. Roasting them, on the other hand, makes cooking and cleanup easy.
These sausages are a natural with many egg dishes; remember them when planning your next brunch. Serve with good mustard or a Thai peanut sauce.
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly oil a roasting pan
2. Place the sausages in a roasting pan and roast, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine the onions and apples with the butter in a large bowl, toss to coat and season with the sage and salt and pepper to taste. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan and add the apple mixture to the pan, scattering it around the sausages. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes more, or until the juices run clear when the sausages are pricked with a fork and the onions and apples are golden. Transfer to a large serving plate and sprinkle with the parsley.
Reasons to Roast
by Georgia Chan Downard and Evie Righter
Illustrations by Dorothy Reinhardt
Chapters/Houghton Mifflin Company, $15.00
256 pages; 1997
Recipes and illustrations reprinted by permission.
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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