We didn’t really know what to have for dinner, but we also had a lot of random vegetables that we had to eat before they went off. One pepper… another single potato… an aubergine… a fennel… What to do with all these bits and pieces?
The answer, obviously: roast all of them in the oven!
Then we had them with some olive oil (of course), a bit of chorizo and a fried egg (“for protein” ?). And I made a salad for lunch the following day ✌?
Basically any random vegetable that you might have in your fridge, but in our case:
- 1 potato
- 1 aubergine
- 1 red pepper
- 1 onion
- 1 fennel
- Garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- Pebrella (if you have it) or oregano
- A piece of chorizo (optional)
- One egg per person (optional)
If you skip the chorizo and eggs, this could be a totally vegan dish. Do as you feel!
- Put some water on a pot so we can lightly boil the fennel before roasting it (that way it will be tender). Set the heat to high.
- Set the oven to 200C
- Cut any ugly bits off the fennel, chopping off the ends and perhaps the outside leaves. Wash off any soil. When the water is boiling, add the fennel to it.
- Prepare one or more trays (depending on how many vegetables you want to get rid off), oiling them lightly or perhaps adding some aluminum wrap if you don’t want things to stick to your tray
- Peel or wash very thoroughly the potato (sometimes I like to keep the skin), and slice lengthwise. Lightly cut the flat sides so they get better cooked. Then place on the trays.
- The aubergine is pretty tedious to peel, so I don’t. Wash it carefully and slice it like the potato, and place on the tray too.
- Peel a few garlic cloves, slice them and place them on the aubergine slices. It adds a nice garlicy flavour!
- Peel the onion, slice it in four parts and place on the tray.
- When the fennel seems to have softened a bit, take it out of the pot, and (slice in 3 or 4 parts, place in tray)
- This is our tray of things that will take longer to cook:
Add a bit of olive oil and salt, and place in the oven so it starts cooking.
- And now for the tray of delicate things that take less to cook: the tomatoes and pepper.
- Wash the pepper and slice longitudinally. Remove any seeds, and place on the tray.
- Wash the tomatoes and slice in somehow thick slices (don’t go too thin or they just evaporate down to nothing). Place in the tray, and then add some olive oil to everything, and sprinkle with pebrella or oregano over the tomatoes. And place it in the oven.
- Keep an eye on the food as it cooks. Some things take less to cook, so you might need to take a tray out and remove some of the ingredients to prevent things from burning.
TIP: If it’s hard to look at the tray underneath because the oven light is on top, you can use your mobile phone’s flashlight function as a “lantern”.
- When things are cooked to your liking (e.g. some people prefer the potatoes more done and crispy, others prefer them tender…), arrange them in dishes, ready to serve.
- Optional: Right after turning the heat in the oven off, take a piece of chorizo, peel the skin off, slice it in two and place them in the oven to gently warm up while we cook the eggs. This will release its smokiness and soften the fats, so it’ll take a darker colour.
- Optional: Fry the eggs, and place on the dishes.
- Add some paprika on top of the potatoes. I’m using smoked paprika like the one in this recipe.
- And there we go! Ready to eat ?
We had never roasted fennel before, and this was such a nice surprise. It turns way mellower than when raw, and the aniseed flavour is sort of surfing on top of a gentle wave of sweetness. It conjured visions of walking across fields on a slightly chill, crisp Autumn Sunday morning; muddy boots and all.
You would wonder: can a roasted fennel do ALL THAT to your mind? And my answer is that the only way to find out is to try it by yourself.