Madame Saisons: Roots N’All
by Sarah Ugazio
Tough and true Tasmanians stand strong in the face of winter, as do harvest veggies still growing in the garden. Brassicas and bulbs boldly anchor their stalks while underground tubers and root vegetables tightly take hold for the chilly months ahead. Whether one vigilantly braces or vigorously embraces single digit forecasts, the astringent crisp air tends to make us move a little faster homewards to hibernate. Quick shops, slow food and hot meals call for batch cooking.
Roasts are a classic weekend favorite when time permits harder vegetables to soften and crust in a hot oven. Par boiling tubers (potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes) can speed things up and add some extra crunch. Carrots (dutch and rainbow varieties), beetroots, parsnips and onions need patience to bring out their sweetness. Whichever way you do it, who doesn’t love a hot root…vegetable…in winter?!
Kitchen enjoyment time oscillates from slower-the-better on weekends, to satisfying quickies on weekdays. Accordingly, effective meal planning should make the most of your leftover roast veggies – cook in excess to pay your efforts forward midweek. Frittata, soup, bubble and squeak patties, eggs and hash fry-up*, and warm winter salads are but a few dishes that champion a second life for these starchy delights.
Above ground flavour hits include peppery rocket and mizuna, spicy mustard greens, pumpkin (Butternut and Jap) and zucchini for sweetness. The much-maligned Brussels sprout can take on a new life when charred and infused with seasonal garlic (see recipe).
Fruits are a one hand count until spring – limes will hang around for July, while apples, pears, and lemons will see us through the big chill. Thankfully rosy red rhubarb is a small seasonal blessing to accompany our limited fruit basket. Stewed winter desserts welcome the extra colour and tartness, with Rhubarb Crumble* being a firm winter favorite.
*these additional recipes will be available at @madamesaisons
Charred Garlic Brussels Sprouts
- 500g Brussels Sprouts, halved lengthways
- 2 Garlic cloves, peeled, halved
- and smashed
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
In a heavy based pan (cast iron or enamel is ideal), heat oil on medium heat.
Add garlic and sauté until golden to flavour oil. Remove garlic and set aside. Add sprouts to pan with the cut side down, leaving them undisturbed until lightly charred.
Cover pan with lid, or foil, to steam sprouts for a few minutes. Don’t over steam or they will lose their vibrant colour. Test tenderness by touch with skewer, serve with crunchy golden fried garlic.
Follow Sarah on Instagram at @madamesaisons