Vegetables, lots of healthy, brightly colored vegetables, is what I love most about summer. And fruit. Well, and sunshine, lots and lots of sunshine and no rain (we get puh-lenty of that here in Seattle the other 8-9 months of the year). As my beloved summer comes to a close I’m scrambling to pack in the last of the season’s bounty in each meal: late season tomatoes that are still on the vine, zucchini, zucchini, zucchini, always a bumper crop of zucchini!, fresh herbs... I feel like a vegetable hoarder. I keep reminding myself that other lovely vegetables are on their way, like potatoes (sweet, red, fingerling, butter) other glorious roots vegetables like parsnips, cruciferous creatures like cauliflower and broccoli, and so many more. Whatever the season, roasting is the way to go as it brings out a vegetable’s natural sugars making them oh so tasty!
I love grabbing a big pile of colorful veggies and herbs, chopping them up, and throwing them on a foil lined sheet pan to pop in the oven. It takes such little effort, just the wielding of a chef’s knife, really), and it's so healthy and delicious. Plus, clean-up in a cinch (hello, busy people, this is especially for you). The following recipe features tomatoes and zucchini (use green, yellow or a combination of the two), as well as a bunch of fresh herbs, but feel free to improvise and add your own favorites. Toss in some quartered baby potatoes, and maybe you have some marjoram. Add it, you really can’t go wrong. If you’re using fennel, which I call for here, then toss in some of the tender, feathery fronds if your bulb has them. There’s so much flavor in them!
So pour yourself a nice glass of wine and let’s get chopping. Dinner will be ready in under an hour, so you’ll have time to relax, sip your wine, and watch the evening news. When it’s ready, serve this spectacular dish along with your favorite grain (for a vegan/vegetarian meal) or a bit of nicely pan-seared steak. The leftovers will make a lovely lunch, too.
Garlic and Herb Roasted Vegetables
Adapted slightly from a recipe by Paula Wolfert
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters (or eighths if large)
1 pound medium red onions, cut into wedges
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 ribs celery, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 small fennel bulb (with fronds if available), cut into wedges
2- cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons chopped dill
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
¼ cup+ extra-virgin olive oil
Place the oven rack in the upper middle position.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For easy cleaning, line a large sheet pan with foil then thoroughly oil the bottom.
Spread the tomatoes on the bottom of the dish followed by the onions, zucchini, celery, and fennel. Sprinkle with the garlic, salt, pepper and herbs and drizzle with oil.
Bake for 30 minutes then carefully stir to redistribute the vegetables. Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes.
Serve hot or room temperature.