Monday, November 7, 2011
Roasted Root Vegetable Medley
I have a culinary bucket list confession to make. Until recently, I had never cooked with Daikon radishes. I knew what they were, vaguely, I'd probably consumed them while eating out at some point (this is why I fervently wish every restaurant dish came with a list of ingredients so I could be fully aware - both for health purposes and sensual appreciation - of what I'm eating), but I'd never actually walked over to one, put it in the grocery bag, and marched it home. Shameful. A foodie should try everything, right? (Good thing I have several more decades of living ahead of me, God-willing. I can easily compile a long list of ingredients I still need to learn to cook, right alongside my list of novels to read...)
Anyway, upon opening a recent CSA box, a very long, alarmingly anatomically shaped tuber emerged. My first thought, always having an intense, homesick longing for chicory coffee in the recesses of my subconscious, was that I had received a chicory root. Upon finding an utter dearth of recipes for chicory root on the web (perhaps it's only used in coffee?), I concluded this mystery vegetable required further examination. Peering at it pensively, yet another corner of my subconscious concluded: Daikon radish. Shockingly, I was correct, though I'm not sure from what distant memory this knowledge emerged. Regardless, I was delighted to have a new vegetable, and was utterly clueless as to how to prepare it. A bit rashly, perhaps, I concluded that it was a root vegetable, so surely it could be roasted alongside a medley of other root vegetables for a glorious, early winter harvest dish.
I later discovered that the proper way to serve a Daikon radish seems to be raw and thinly shredded, as a salad, but the innocent discovery had already been made. The roasted Daikon radish, alongside little classic red radishes, sweet potato, and turnips, was magical... and was guaranteed a place at our fusion-cuisine obsessed Thanksgiving table.
So, please do share... What's on your culinary list of ingredients to cook with for the first time? And, because I love hearing about what my friends are cooking and reading, what's in your pile of books to read?
Roasted Root Vegetable Medley
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1 large Daikon radish, cut into 1" pieces
4 medium turnips, cut into 1" pieces
1 large bunch red radishes, cut into 1" pieces
2 onions, quartered and layers separated
1 T Olive oil
1 T Rosemary
1lb Italian-style turkey sausage, sliced OR 1lb Italian-style vegetarian soy "sausage," sliced (such as Tofurky brand)
~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position the oven rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up, and coat the foil with cooking spray.
~ Toss together all the veggies in a large bowl with the olive oil and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
~ Spread the veggies in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
~ Remove from the oven, give the veggies a stir, and scatter the sausage or veg sausage on the baking sheet with the veggies.
~ Bake for 30 minutes, or until everything is cooked through. Serve warm! This also makes a lovely, casual first course with a glass of red wine...