Double roasting power: Oven-roasted potatoes with grilled zucchini – or hunting down the zebra.
This is a choice made by the people. Well, not necessary the people, rather a few people. I like to call them friends, but it appears that all they are, is a bunch of potatoe-leek-soup haters. Because I initially planned this week’s post to be on a springy soup made from potatoes and leek, hence the name. But it appears that this was a prospect they found to be dissatisfying. I will prove them wrong next week, but for this week I will give in. After all, I need someone to read this. My oven-roasted potatoes are just the thing for cold, windy and wet autumn evenings and they are enjoyed best with friends.
There is something about sharing food I find highly satisfying. I can’t really put my finger on exactly what it is. Sure, getting praise for what you do is nice. Very nice, in fact. But there is more to it. Probably something more…primal. I like the togetherness of a shared meal. It’s a bit like sharing the corpse of a zebra after you hunted it down for a half an hour or so. Food tastes best to me when it is a joint effort, when everyone had their share of work, however small. I don’t really like to be surrounded by free-loading hyenas, just keeping in the back-ground starring at the corpse waiting until you are done strangling the zebra (or whatever lions do to kill their prey). I know, I am a very domineering person when it comes to the kitchen, there is no denying that. So there is sometimes little chance for everyone to contribute to a meal. One could say that the neck of the zebra is too small for all paws to strangle simultaneously (I really should check on what exactly it is that lions do to zebras, I doubt that there is strangling involved, after all they don’t have hands. So they probably just smash them to the ground…but that doesn’t work as well as a metaphor, now does it?)I really do think it’s very important for the group-process that people contribute by setting up the table, choosing the right zebra or offering to help you to strangle it. When cooking is approached as a group-activity, time is an important aspect to keep in mind: I loath being in the kitchen, stirring visciously in pans, while hearing the bright laughter of people having fun in the room next-door. And quite frankly there is little more annoying than a bunch of people moaning, asking repeatedly for when dinner is going to be ready.
So when choosing food for a shared dinner, I like to make sure to keep my effort (both in time and workload) as small as possible and preferably not to keep people waiting longer than necessary. It turns out that, at least to me, roasting things in an oven is as low-key as it can get. Some minor dicing, some light crushing and a bit of fun oiling up, that’s all it takes for my lovely oven-roasted potatoes to become as delicious as they are. So you have more time to join the laughter.
Potatoes, washed but not peeled Garlic Salt Pepper Thyme Rosemary Black Pepper Mozzarella
- Slice the potatoes in some kind of shape. The thinner they are the faster they will cook.
- Roughly chop some herbs. For me rosemary is a given when eating oven-roasted potatoes, but thyme goes quite well with it as well. Add to your roasting-tin.
- Crush some garlic-clothes, there is no need to peel them, just add them to the tin as well.
- Add some olive-oil to the tin and mix with the rest of the ingredients. You want the potatoes to be coated nicely.
- Add salt, be generous.
- Put in the oven at a 180°C and roast for about 40 minutes. This might take longer or be consierably quicker depending on how you cut the potatoes. If you can’t wait that long you could just slice and pre-cook the potatoes, drie them thoroughly and put them in the tin until golden. You want them to crunch up and turn golden-brown.
- If you like add some pepper.
Zucchini Sugar Salt Olive Oil Lemon Juice Garlic
- Slice the zucchini in any shape you like, the thicker you cut the slices the longer they will need to cook. Since you want to roast them this means that by increasing the slices’ thickness you can increase the maximum roast-flavour while keeping the tenderness of the slices constant. I know that that is not much of an information. I usually have my roasted zucchini as thick as one to one and a half pencils.
- Put the zucchini in some kind of container (I usually would use a sandwich-bag or something alike, but in order to save the earth and stuff some tupperware might have to do). Add some olive oil, just enough to cout the slices finely.
- Add some salt to the coated zucchini. With some I mean actually quite a lot.
- Add two pinches of sugar. In this cases two pinches is supposed to mean very little, you want stuff to taste nicely roasted, not burned sugar roasted.
- Heat up a pan, I like griddle-pans, but then again that is just for the fancy stripes. A normal non-stick pan will do just as well.
- Make it searing-hot. You don’t want to lightly warm the zucchini but give them a hell of a roast before you devour them. That’s probably not very nice of you, but necessary.
- Put slice after slice into the hot pan. Make sure to add as little extra-oil as you can. We want to go for roasted not fried, after all.
- Let the slices brown for a bit. By the way, there is a difference between just nice and dark and burned.
- Turn the slices and treat them the same.
- Let cool of a bit.
- Add a few spritzers of lemon-juice and some extra-salt if necessary.
- I sometimes add a bit of olive oil I mixed with a bit of mushed garlic.
You might want to try this:
I like this with some mozzarella, stacking up the different ingredients on top of each other and just eat it as it is. But if you should find yourself missing some sauce, it’s always a nice idea to get yourself some ricotta or creme-freche, add a few finely chopped herbs, some lemon-zest, a bit of garlic, some salt and pepper or chili flakes and finish it with a hint of lemon-juice and oil.
Or you just make yourself a lovely impromptu herb-sauce, by chopping some of the herbs finely, adding it to a small bowl with the juice of 1 part lemon and half a part of olive oil, together with a hint of honey, salt and pepper to the taste and some finely grated parmesan if you like.