If déjà vu is the sensation that you previously have seen or experienced exactly what you are seeing and experiencing right now, what do you call the sense that you are perceiving something you should have known about before but simply can’t remember? “Déjà vu manqué”? “Déjà I should have vu’d it before but didn’t”? I’m not sure.
I once had a friend, at that time in her twenties, who had lived her entire life in Manhattan. She had a stratospheric IQ and was not at all a hermit. She knew her way around the island as well as any worldly native. Yet one day I mentioned the Chrysler Building to her and she astonished me by responding, “What’s that?” She should have known the building, it must have been right in front of her eyes dozens of times, but somehow it had escaped her notice. It was an iconic building long before we all started calling everything “iconic” (“Guy Fieri’s iconic Times Square restaurant!,” etc., etc.), but it was no icon to her.
I had a moment like that a couple of weeks ago when I read Mark Bittman’s fine piece in the Times (I know, they’re all fine) about roasting beets. It occurred to me that I have read lots and lots about roasting root vegetables or, effectively the same thing, “winter vegetables.” I have cooked these recipes, along with the occasional one for roasted tomatoes. But it never had occurred to me to roast any of the everyday vegetables—broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans, for starters—that my kids and I eat during most of the year. I steam or sauté them, but I’ve never roasted any of them.
Turns out there are recipes everywhere for roasted everyday staple vegetables. Were they right in front of my eyes? Yes. Some of these recipes, I am embarrassed to admit, are in a terrific book we published, The Roasted Vegetable, by Andrea Chesman. I guess I was editing but not reading, which is a bad habit. On her website Andrea writes, “You haven’t lived until you’ve tasted roasted green beans.”
I looked around the food blogs this week for some recipes in this vein. I found a nice one, which I share below, on Gaby Dalkin’s fun and very reliable What’s Gaby Cooking. When I emailed Gaby for permission to post the recipe, she said in her reply that “the roasted green beans are to die for!” Between Andrea and Gaby and perhaps others, there is, apparently, a lot of life and death at stake when it comes to roasted green beans.
What’s Gaby Cooking has an enthusiastic twentysomething tone, but it’s written by an accomplished and imaginative cook with culinary- and pastry-school credentials who works as a private chef and recipe developer. Gaby grew up in Arizona, and many of the recipes have Southwestern or California accents. The emphasis is on creative tweaks that modify or perfect relatively well-known recipes, in the spirit, say, of Cooks Illustrated. But the tweaks really are well-thought-out and appealing. The photography is sharp, bright, and very skilled without being aggressively artsy.
Gaby’s recipe for Roasted Green Beans with Goat Cheese originally appeared here. After Gaby’s recipe I have some links to other food bloggers’ ideas for roasting the staple vegetables.
Roasted Green Beans with Goat Cheese
- 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
- Lemon zest to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Scatter the trimmed green beans on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and scatter the garlic over the green beans.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast for 12-15 minutes until the green beans are slightly toasty and tender. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top with the goat cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice. Adjust salt and pepper as needed and serve immediately
Recipe and photo used by permission of Gaby Dalkin
Other fine ideas from the food blogosphere, for roasted broccoli and cauliflower:
Adam Roberts, from The Amateur Gourmet way back in 2008, with “The Best Broccoli of Your Life.”
Elana Amsterdam’s Oven Roasted Broccoli, from Elana’s Pantry.
Heidi Swanson created Roasted Cauliflower Popcorn in her splendid 101 Cookbooks.
For the Christmas season, Kalyn Denny, in Kalyn’s Kitchen, offered up this red-and-green-accented Roasted Cauliflower with Red Bell Pepper, Green Olives, and Pine Nuts.