The #1 Mistake Most People Make When Roasting Vegetables, According to Samin Nosrat

We've definitely been guilty of this before!

samin nosrat
Photo: Getty / Noam Galai / Stringer

We're officially in love with Home Cooking.

By that we mean cooking at home, yes (with some local takeout to spice things up and support small businesses, of course!). But we also mean Home Cooking, one of our new favorite food podcasts.

So far, we've laughed and learned along with the co-hosts Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway and discovered that red wine vinegar is what our caramelized onions have been missing all along and got schooled on seven tasty ways to use up surplus squash.

This week, during episode 10 of Home Cooking, Nosrat and Hirway revealed that they would extend the podcast through at least the end of 2021 (hallelujah!) and fielded fan questions, as they normally do during each episode. They also welcomed comedian Jason Mantzoukas for a couple segments, who brought along his own crop of culinary questions for the delightful duo.

In a fun game of show and tell, Mantzoukas describes a new-to-him veggie that arrived in his produce box, and asked Nosrat and Hirway to help him pin down what this bulb-shaped item that has "stalks with hairy green appendages" might be. His guess: Leeks. Spoiler alert: It was fennel!

Mantzoukas admitted that he'd never cooked with it and didn't really enjoy the flavor of fennel in dishes that had been made for him, but Nosrat offered a couple ideas for how he might prepare it to actually find fennel quite appetizing this time around. For a raw prep, she suggested a delicious-sounding Apple-Fennel Slaw, and for cooking, Nosrat said to try caramelizing them darkly to get rid of most of the anise-y flavors Mantzoukas isn't a huge fan of.

"That's just take the fennel, add caramel, then bring to a boil?" Mantzoukas joked. 🤣

Nosrat went on to explain that she meant roasting the vegetable until it's almost burnt in a saute pan or baking sheet. Here's how:

Speaking of that roasting—a technique that often uses all of Nosrat's signature Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat components—it brought up a new question for Mantzoukas.

"There have been times I've had sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts...can you do them together?"

You could do them together, Nosrat says, but the mistake most people make when roasting is mixing different vegetables on the same tray. She suggests doing each separately since each produce item has a different water content and consistency, so they cook at different rates.

"Some are going to brown. Some are going to burn. Some are going to caramelize and some are going to be raw," Nosrat says. "For a better and more delicious result, use different trays. If you don't have many different baking sheets, keep them separate on the same tray," then remove them once completed and stir together after roasting, if you like.

With this tip and our #1 bonus ingredient for extra-crispy vegetables, we can't wait to coax even our pickiest family members into eating—and enjoying—all of their veggie servings.

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