The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Roasted Root Vegetables with 
Red Current and Herb Dip

Roasted root vegetables are a winter delight...well if you ask me anyway :)
Their natural sweetness just sings when roasted...a cold weather treat to
warm us up during these chillier days. And with our markets and gardens
bursting with a vast variety of organic goodies to choose from, the
options are boundless!

We have a couple of non-root veggies here as well, namely shallots and fennel.
I couldn't resist the addition of these two lovelies. When roasted they has a
sweet mild taste and a wonderful soft silky texture, giving us a hint more
variety in our dish and a bit of a textural playground.

Our "sweet and savory" are accomplished by using some aromatic salt and
 pepper varieties bringing us a large impact with just a few grinds. And
just to give a little zip to our dish we are making a tart and slightly
sweetened dip. Why should only some of our taste buds have fun :)

Then we have our fresh from the garden herb selection that were quite
happy to join in on the festivities. I chose two of my favorites mint
and sage, but most any fresh herb you favor would work well.

And of course we need some garlic...OK, lots of garlic. I chose to mince the garlic
and brush it along with the oil directly on the vegetables before roasting.
But you could also roast the garlic whole along with the vegetables if desired.

When prepping your veggies there are a few things to keep in mind.
I like to have different shapes and textures working, but in order to roast a variety of
vegetables we will need to consider the density of the varieties we are working with.
 With the vegetables here today we are working with both high and medium density
 vegetables. The shallots and fennel are both medium density, so we will be
 leaving these in larger pieces to accommodate their faster cooking time.

Another thing to consider is the temperature we will want to be working with.
Slow roasting at 300-325 F will produce a sweet and very tender vegetable.
For a medium roast we would choose temperatures ranging from 350-425 F,
and produce an even roast with a bit of caramelization  where our
sugar molecules just begin to bond to our protein molecules. And then
there is a high heat roast at temperatures of 450-500 that will produce
a quick roast with a caramelized and slightly crunchy vegetable.

The oil used should also be considered and based against the heat
method we choose. Refined oils typically have higher smoking points,
with avocado oil being the highest at 520 F and unrefined at about
490 F. Making this an excellent choice for roasting. Typically
unrefined oils smoking points are 320 F or lower. While some
nut oils like refined almond have a high smoking point, the higher
heats can destroy their nutty flavors, so mixing them with
another oil is a good idea.

What you will need:
For the roasted vegetables
1/2 pound baby potatoes
1/2 pound young carrots
1/2 pound parsnips
1 large rutabaga or turnip
2-3 large shallots
1 large fennel bulb
1/4 cup avocado oil, unrefined
1 garlic bulb, minced
1 teaspoon herb salt, ground
 2 teaspoons flower pepper, ground

For the red currant dip
2 1/2 ounces fresh red currants
1-2 teaspoons raw sugar
1/2 lemon juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Let's get roasting:
For the roasted vegetables
I chose the medium heat method that I discussed above but you can
choose another based on your personal preference.

Make sure that your vegetable are patted dry after washing
as moisture will cause a steaming effect we do not want here.
To get an heaven cooking pace cut the vegetables as so.
Carrots; slice in half vertically. Parsnips; quarter slice vertically and
remove the woody like center portion as it will not soften.
Potatoes; slice in half vertically. Shallots; slice in half vertically.
Fennel; quarter slice vertically. Rutabaga; coin slice diagonally
into 1/2 inch slices.

Mince garlic and place in a small bowl along with oil. Place
prepared vegetables onto a parchment covered baking sheet
in a single layer (not you may need 2 baking sheets). Brush
vegetables evenly with oil and garlic mixture. Then sprinkle
with salt and pepper.

Bake in a re-heated oven at 400 degrees F checking after
about 25 minutes, add more oil if necessary and continue to bake
for approximately 10 to 15 more minutes or until just about
5 minutes before they are done.

Remove baking sheet from oven and lightly brush with your
red currant dip. Continue to roast an additional 5 minutes or so.
Serve hot or at room temperature along with dip.

For the dip
Place red currants in a small food processor or blender, add
lemon juice and pulse a few times. Add sugar and slowly
add oil while processor is running. Note: the dip
will be thick, so add a small amount of water to
dilute if desired.
Serves 4

Update: For the engraved spoons please visit  Pretty Paris on Etsy.
You can choose any personal engraving and the type of dinnerware you like :)

Alisha ~ Magic of Spice

This is going over to The Super Bowl Dipstock

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