I love the holidays because they’re the perfect time to bring together my three favorite things: food, family and friends. For Easter weekend, I went to my family’s house in New Jersey. I was also lucky enough to get to celebrate Passover that weekend too, even though I’m not Jewish. For the holiday, we went over to a family friend’s and we had a marvelous time. To contribute to the meal, my aunt and grandma decided to bring a vegetable dish that I helped with.
My family loves Ina Garten’s Food Network show The Barefoot Contessa, and we own so many of her cookbooks. For this recipe, we decided to make her oven-roasted vegetables from her Back to Basics cookbook. We doubled the recipe when we made it, although the original instructions are below:
- 2 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
- 1 pound fingerling or small potatoes
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound French string beans (haricots verts), trimmed
- 1 bunch thin asparagus, ends removed, cut diagonally into 3-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
To start, you preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
From there, we cut the fennel bulbs into 6 wedges each, cutting through the core to keep the wedges intact. We placed them on a sheet pan, then cut the potatoes in half lengthwise before placing them on the sheet pan with the fennel. After, we drizzled the olive oil on the vegetables, and sprinkled them with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. We then tossed it all together with our hands to mix the flavors well.
Then we roasted the vegetables for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes were tender, tossing once while cooking. After, we tossed the string beans and asparagus with the roasted vegetables and roasted for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the green vegetables were tender. Then for the pièce de résistance, we sprinkled on the Parmesan cheese and roast for another minute or two until the cheese melted. To finish it off, we sprinkled it with salt and pepper and served hot.
My aunt said this dish is always a hit, and I completely understand why. Everyone at the Passover dinner loved it, although there were some leftovers. Being a college student, I said I would take a tupperware of it home with me so eat later.
When I got back to school, I decided to use these leftovers in my lunch one day. I knew I needed some protein, so I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and began defrosting some shrimp. To defrost shrimp quickly, take a bowl and put some room temperature water in it, and then place a strainer in the bowl so it’s a little covered by the water. From there, place the shrimp in the strainer and allow the faucet to run a little bit of cold water over the shrimp. Do this until defrosted.
Once they were finished defrosting and the oven was preheated, I placed the shrimp on a cooking tray. I then drizzled olive oil on top, with some salt and pepper. I tossed it all together with my hands, and then placed the shrimp in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until they were pink on the outside and white on the inside.
From there, I heated up my vegetables and had lovely grilled shrimp and roasted parmesan vegetables for lunch. The shrimp had a great flavor on their own and were well seasoned, and so were the vegetables. I like the light hint of parmesan in the vegetables to add a little creamy flavor. This dish was a great way to utilize some delicious leftovers.