Monday, March 14, 2011

Roasted Vegetables with Hazelnut Gremolata

The first signs of spring are here. We've been above freezing for more than a day or two in the past week and I saw some dead grass under a path that people had cut into the snow. I know we'll have a snowstorm or two between now and real spring (it is Montreal after all), but for now, maybe it's time to embrace the good things that winter brings. By now, if any of my co-workers are reading this, they've decided that I'm insane. But there's something to be said for being able to use the oven with wild abandon and each rich foods. I feel like I embraced meat a bit too much over the winter and forgot about delicious vegetables because I didn't have beautiful, fresh local produce to distract me every time I went to the store. So as a farewell to winter, we have a roasted winter vegetable dish.

I made quite a few changes to this recipe. I see the original as more of a jumping point. First, this doesn't seem to be Montreal's brussels sprouts season, so I decided to pass on those and instead substitute celery root. I completely blanked when I went to the grocery store and forgot to buy turnips, so I omitted those entirely. Similarly, I assumed I had pecans ... and then walnuts on a later trip and instead ended up opting for hazelnuts ... which are delicious! I was planning on using parmesan, but at the last minute couldn't resist the idea of using some Bulgarian feta instead. Finally, to turn this into a full meal, I served it over a bed of quinoa.

In the end, I was surprised by how delicious this was. It's healthy and I caught myself going back for seconds (even though I have a cake baking away in the oven! For me, the zip from the lemon and the feta made this dish.

Roasted Vegetables with Hazelnut Gremolata (adapted from epicurious)

500g medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
500g medium parsnips, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise
1 celery root, chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup hazelnuts (or pecans ... or walnuts)
50g crumbled feta
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1 small garlic clove, minced

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss carrots, parsnips, and celery root in large bowl with 3 tablespoons oil.
2. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender, tossing often, about 1 hour.
3. Transfer vegetables to large platter; cool.
4. Using on/off turns, chop hazelnuts in processor until coarsely ground.
5. Transfer ground hazelnuts to small bowl; stir in feta, parsley, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season gremolata to taste with salt.
6. Drizzle vegetables with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Sprinkle gremolata over vegetables just before serving.

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