How to Roast and Bake Vegetables
Roasting is one of the best ways to impart intense flavor to vegetables, producing crisp browned exteriors and tender, moist interiors. It's a favorite technique of many chefs, as it consistently produces satisfying vegetable dishes.
For best results, cut vegetables into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking. Lightly coat them with oil to add flavor and to promote browning (and to keep them moist), and sprinkle with salt and pepper before cooking. Herbs and zest can also be used to season; if the oven is very hot or the cooking time is long, these should be added toward the end to keep them from burning (or use whole sprigs or stems, which can also be removed easily after roasting.)
Spread the vegetables in an even layer on a rimmed aluminum sheet pan, sturdy rimmed cookie sheet, or shallow roasting pan. Don't overcrowd the pan, or the vegetables won't brown properly.
Two ways to bake vegetables include gratins and tians; these baked-vegetable dishes exemplify other ways to build layers of flavor. The difference between the two is that a gratin contains cream or another liquid to bind the vegetables, while a tian does not. Other than that, the techniques are similar: Thinly sliced vegetables are neatly arranged in an overlapping fashion and then baked, with or without a breadcrumb topping, until golden and tender.
Practice this "Cooking School" skill by making
Potato-and-Turnip Gratin or
Roasted Autumn Harvest Salad.