Published March 1, 2008.
Roasting can give new life to tired produce. It can also make for a limp, soggy salad.
Roasting a few vegetables together to make an interesting salad is tricky. Different vegetables may require different roasting times or temperatures, and flavors or textures can clash.
We wanted a simple, flavorful side salad created by choosing vegetables with compatible colors, flavors, and textures that would roast well together.
Our first task was to design appropriate vegetable combinations that would roast well together, even in the 500-degree oven we used to get maximum browning. We quickly eliminated porous vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, as they were too limp and soggy to even consider tossing with dressing for a salad. Winning combinations were beets and carrots, cremini mushrooms and fennel, and potatoes and green beans. These vegetables kept their structure when cut into same-sized pieces and cooked to a similarly firm yet tender consistency. We kept a light hand with the dressing. Just a tablespoon of oil kept the salads from being greasy, and a little vinegar or lemon juice let the sweetness of the vegetables dominate. Tossing the vegetables with the vinaigrette while they were still hot allowed better flavor absorption. To make these true salads—rather than dressed roasted vegetables—we added something crisp and raw. We liked slightly bitter radicchio, spicy radishes, and peppery watercress.list of recipes