Roast With the Most

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Warm up the kitchen without cranking the thermostat by making roasted sablefish, escarole and avocado salad and roasted pineapple and coconut sundae | Photo by Emily Teel

Although you can’t will spring to arrive sooner, you can turn on the oven. Not only does it warm up the kitchen without cranking the thermostat, it’s also the start of countless cold weather meals with nary a root vegetable in sight. The oven’s heat caramelizes the sugar in off-season cherry tomatoes (a guilty midwinter pleasure of mine), making them a worthy counterpart to creamy avocado and bitter, crunchy escarole. It adds appealing char to brassicas and concentrates the briny sweetness of olives and capers, and roasting is a foolproof way to cook rich Alaskan sablefish. If these recipes don’t cure your midwinter blues, roast a pineapple, eat it with toasted coconut and ice cream, and imagine you’re somewhere tropical.

Roasted Sablefish, Brassicas and Capers

Active time: 45 minutes. Serves 4

1 sablefish filet (about one pound), defrosted and patted dry

1 pound cauliflower (assorted colors), broken into one-inch florets

1/2 pound broccoli, broken into one-inch florets

1/4 cup capers, drained (about half of a 2.4 ounce jar)

1 cup Castelvetrano olives*

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed

lemon juice

Lemon wedges, to serve

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

  • Heat oven to 400ºF degrees.
  • On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower, broccoli, capers, olives, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Spread into a single layer and roast, flipping vegetables every 10 minutes, until tender and beginning to char, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Once the vegetables have been in the oven for 15 minutes, cut sablefish filet into servings and place skin side down onto a baking sheet. Combine melted butter, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and brush mixture over fish. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the filets appear uniformly opaque.
  • Once vegetables are done, remove from oven. Switch oven to broil and brown the fish for two to three minutes, until golden. Remove and allow fish to rest two minutes before serving.
  • To serve, place sablefish over roasted vegetables. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with lemon wedges.

*Caution your guests to be mindful of the olive pits and the sablefish pinbones that run down the seam in the filet. Don’t worry; after the fish is roasted, they’ll poke out of the filet and can be easily removed.

Escarole and Avocado Salad With Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Active time: 30 minutes. Serves 4

1 medium head escarole, torn

into bite-sized pieces

1 ripe avocado, cubed

1 pint cherry tomatoes

3 Tablespoons and 1 tablespoon

olive oil, divided

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

1 clove garlic, minced fine

Salt

Black pepper

  • Heat oven to 400ºF degrees.
  • Halve cherry tomatoes and place on a baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper, and drizzle with three tablespoons olive oil. Roast uncovered until tomatoes are sizzling and slumped, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Set aside two-thirds of tomatoes. Pour remaining tomatoes (about 1/2 cup) and any accumulated juices into the jar of an immersion blender or food processor. Add vinegar, garlic, chili and remaining tablespoon olive oil to the jar, and purée until smooth and pourable, adding a tablespoon of water—should you need it—to reach desired consistency.
  • In a wide bowl, top escarole with avocado and roasted tomato halves. Serve with tomato vinaigrette.

Roasted Pineapple and Coconut Sundae

Active time: 40 minutes. Serves 4

1 medium-sided pineapple, peeled

and cut into bite-sized cubes

1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

Pinch salt

Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Coconut sorbet or ice cream

1/2 cup coconut chips, toasted

  • Heat oven to 400ºF degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large bowl, stir together sugar, honey, salt, cayenne (if using) and orange juice until sugar dissolves. Add pineapple and toss together to coat. Allow to stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer pineapple to prepared baking sheet, reserving 2/3 marinade. Roast, uncovered. After 10 minutes, turn pineapple and brush with half of reserved marinade. Continue to roast another 10 minutes, then brush with remainder of marinade. Roast a final 10 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • While pineapple roasts, toast coconut flakes in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and edges are beginning to brown. Set aside.
  • To serve, spoon pineapple into bowls. Top with coconut ice cream or sorbet. Drizzled with pineapple roasting liquid and top with toasted coconut.