Category Archives: starters

Instant Gratification: Roasted Fingerling & Watercress Salad

It’s funny how things come together in the kitchen. This week I’ve had lots of fingerling potatoes lying around, as I’ve been developing recipes with them for Vegetarian Times magazine. As it happens, I also treated myself yesterday to a watercress gathering excursion. Nice to be out in the quiet of the early morning under clearing skies, walking along a damp compost-y path beneath a gradually thickening canopy of budding branches. (Buds—finally.) I had my little scissors, a bag, and my camera. Sadly, I couldn’t linger long—lots of recipe testing scheduled for the day. But I crouched low in the black mud, hung over the stream, and snipped enough crisp clusters of Leprechaun-green watercress to fill my bag. And then reluctantly carried on my way. Retreating out of the cool forest, I heard the buzz of cars on the roadway calling me out of my reverie.

Back home at lunch time (after another recipe test—Asian slaw), I looked at the fingerlings and the watercress and thought: Warm salad. It’s no secret that my favorite way to cook fingerlings is brown-braising. But right then, I wanted instant gratification, and I looked at the little knobby potatoes and thought slicing them into coins and quick-roasting them would get me my hit. Sure enough, the little coins were golden on the outside, moist on the inside after 20 minutes at 450 degrees. I scrunched up some handfuls of washed watercress and scattered them on white plates. On went the roasted potatoes and a super-quick warm dressing I made in the skillet with sautéed garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. I happened to have some toasted hazelnuts around, so I scattered a few of those on, too. Simple and lovely. Nothing I like better than a warm salad, especially with something so crazy delightful as freshly picked watercress. Now, I can’t wait ‘til I can harvest our own greens. (Just a few weeks away, maybe—the first arugula seeds I sowed in the garden last week sprouted today—yippee!)

One little suggestion: If you decide to whip yourself up a warm fingerling salad like this (which you could certainly do with arugula or any other assertive green), the dressing would be even better if you cooked a slice of bacon in the skillet first! Course you could skip the greens altogether, too, if you liked. Those little roasted fingerling coins tasted pretty yummy straight off the sheet pan.

Roasted Fingerling Potato & Watercress Salad

Printable Version of Recipe

All the amounts in this recipe are flexible, and you could vary the dressing or add garnishes as you like. This is really more like a serving suggestion, simply meant to inspire you to pair warm vegetables with cool greens. Just be sure your potato pieces are well-coated in oil for the best roasting. I find slicing the potatoes a little thicker than 1/4-inch, but not quite 1/2-inch (voila, 3/8-inch!) is just about right for cooking through and browning up at the same time in a hot oven.


12 oz. fingerling potatoes, unpeeled, sliced crosswise into “coins” about 3/8-inch thick

2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt

4 to 5 ounces stemmed watercress, washed (or other assertive greens in small pieces)

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted hazelnuts or almonds (optional)

1 tablespoon crumbled good-quality blue cheese (optional)


Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cover a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Toss the fingerling pieces with 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Spread them out in one layer on the parchment paper. Roast under tender all the way through and golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. (Don’t worry if the coins aren’t very brown on the tops—they will be quite golden on the bottom, so just flip them.)

Meanwhile, distribute the watercress on three salad plates (or two for bigger salads). In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the minced garlic over medium-low heat. Stir gently and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle, about 3 to 5 minutes (don’t let the garlic brown.) Add the red wine vinegar, the maple syrup, and a pinch of salt and stir. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Arrange the warm potatoes amongst the watercress and drizzle or spoon the warm dressing over the salads. Sprinkle a tiny bit more salt on each salad, and garnish with the nuts and/or cheese if desired. Serve right away.

Serves 2 or 3

Quickest Asparagus Recipe Yet—And a Pretty Egg Pancake Makes it Lunch for One

While I wait (and wait) for our local asparagus, it occurs to me that everyone else is not waiting. The grocery stores are full of asparagus (from elsewhere, wherever that is) and it is hard to walk down the produce aisles without snatching up a bunch. I understand, really I do, and that is probably why my two blogs on asparagus from last year are getting hit up a lot these days. So okay, I can’t be my stubborn self and wait another month to offer up more asparagus recipes. Especially because there are about a gazillion different ways to cook asparagus—almost all of them pretty darn quick—so I can come back to this provocative vegetable again. Soon.

While I love quick-braising and sautéing asparagus, I think the method that may be the absolute speediest may offer up some of the best flavor, too. It’s stir-frying. Two to three minutes, and you’ve got a beguiling roasty-toasty flavor and a nice crisp-tender texture. A few keys here: Slice the asparagus thinly on the bias for the best browning; don’t use a lot of fat; keep the heat cranked up. (I love the bowl shape of my non-stick stir-fry pan, but you can substitute with a nonstick skillet—just stir more frequently.) I like to include a bit of garlic, some sliced scallions or shallots (as in the recipe below), or a combo of ginger and garlic in an asparagus stir-fry—but not much more. I don’t make a finishing pan sauce for it, in order to let that pure flavor shine through. (I do, however, sometimes like a cool, creamy garnish for this dish—crème frâiche is lovely.)

One of my favorite destinations for stir-fried asparagus is a little flat egg “pancake” (really just an unscrambled scrambled egg), which I dress up with fresh herbs to look pretty. (Yes, eggs—no surprise.) I tumble the asparagus and shallots out of the pan and onto the pancake, garnish the whole thing with a dollop of crème frâiche and a few more herbs, and I have a lovely spring lunch in less than 10 minutes (less than 5 minutes of cooking). But you can also double the asparagus recipe below and serve it as a quick side dish for dinner, too.

A Quick Note about Printable Recipes: I have finally figured out a way to provide you with printable recipes, through Google Documents. (Just click on the printable recipe link below the recipe title.) I set this up with last week’s fennel blog and will try to do this going forward until I can afford a website update and find a better way. (This should, I hope, at least make my Mom happy!) Of course you can still print the blog posts with the recipes imbedded in them, but it’s not a very usable format (and expends excess paper, too). The printable recipes are simply Word documents.

Stir-Fried Asparagus & Shallots on Fresh Herb Egg Pancake for One

Printable Version of Recipe

For this stir-fry, be sure to slice the asparagus sharply on the diagonal. It not only looks pretty, but the asparagus will also cook more evenly and the interior of the stalks will brown better. Crème frâiche is available in small tubs now in most groceries. Check both the cheese and dairy sections. If you can’t find it (or don’t want to bother with another trip to the grocery), you could try a little sour cream loosened with a bit of milk or a bit of thick yogurt or even fresh goat cheese. I absolutely love what fresh mint does here in both the pancake and as a garnish, but I usually combine it with chives and/or parsley, which hold their bright green color better. I call for cooking the veggies first and then the egg, but if you’re even a moderately good multi-tasker you can cook them both at the same time.

For the veggies:
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced asparagus (cut on the diagonal, 3/8- to 1/2-inch thick and 2 inches long), from about 1/2 medium bunch (or 1/2 pound) asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup (scant) thinly sliced shallot (about 1/2 medium to large shallot)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the egg pancake:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon half-n-half or heavy cream
big pinch kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 scant tablespoon combo fresh baby mint leaves (or thinly sliced mint) and small parsley leaves and/or sliced chives (plus a sprinkling more for garnish)
2 teaspoons crème frâiche for garnishing

Make the veggies: In a large nonstick stir-fry pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (it will loosen up and shimmer), add the asparagus, the shallots, and the 1/8 teaspoon salt, and turn the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally for the first minute, and then more frequently, until most of the asparagus are browned around the edges and the shallots are softened and browned, 2 to 3 minutes. (Pay attention here—this goes fast.) Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the veggies to a plate while you make the egg.

Make the egg: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, half ‘n half or cream, a little salt, and a grind or two of fresh pepper. In a small nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, swirl it around in the pan to cover the bottom. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and do not stir. Sprinkle or arrange the herb leaves or cut herbs over the top of the egg. Let the egg cook until it has set, about 3 to 4 minutes. The egg will set from the outside edges in. When the center of the egg looks just barely set, remove the egg from the pan and slide it on a small pretty salad plate, keeping the herb side up. (The bottom will be golden, the top should be still slightly soft.)

Pile the asparagus and shallot mixture on top of the egg; garnish with the crème fraiche and extra herbs. Eat right away.

Serves 1

Veggies for Breakfast or Eggs for Dinner? Here’s A Frittata Plus A Dozen Other Eggy Ideas

Lest you think I’m completely crazy for devoting so much cyber-ink to birds in my last blog, I thought maybe I should come clean about a couple of things. First, I think the whole bird thing is part of my effort to be more in touch with nature (goofy as that sounds, I know). Mostly because observing nature requires slowing down. In my old life, I did everything on one speed: Fast. (Oh, dear, now I’m starting to sound like Charlie Sheen.) I barely made time to tend a pot of herbs on the windowsill or take a walk around the neighborhood—I certainly didn’t don the binoculars to wait for a bird to fly by.

Secondly (and much more practically), one of the reasons I’m truly excited about having our own hens is because we eat so many darn eggs around here (see below). Okay, I admit, there’s also a deeper meaning to the hen thing. To be completely honest, I still have a little fear that someone is going to snatch me away from the Island, return me to the office, to the suburbs, to I-95, and to a whole lot of other noise that I now happily live without. I figure raising hens gives me one more toehold on Vineyard terra firma. If the Old Life Aliens come to snatch me away, they will have to take my hens, too!

Okay. So about those eggs. Because I don’t eat a ton of meat anymore…and because I figured out a long time ago that I won’t get hungry mid-morning if I eat eggs for breakfast… and because Roy loves having breakfast for dinner… and because Libby loves anything that involves mixing a batter—we eat a lot of eggs. We are very fortunate to have a regular supply of eggs from local farms available to us (even in the grocery stores); their plump golden yolks and perky whites have spoiled me. (The yellow color comes from the  higher amounts of beta-carotene these birds ingest.) When I’m developing recipes, I’ll try to use non-local eggs to make sure the recipe will taste good regardless—but for our everyday eating, we love our local eggs. Here’s what we do with them:

1. We scramble them with fresh herbs (especially cilantro and mint), a dash of cream, a little cheese (cheddar, aged gouda, Monterey jack, goat cheese), and plenty of salt and pepper.

2. We make waffles and buttermilk pancakes, sometimes for dinner. (Favorite recipes at

3. We make all kinds of different egg sandwiches; here’s a recipe for one of my favorite creations, which I nicknamed “The Local.” Yes it has a bit of (local!) meat on it.

4. We make my Dad’s famous popovers. (See King Arthur Flour site for pans.)

5. We make savory bread puddings, especially when we have the amazing challah bread from our local Orange Peel Bakery. (Popover and bread pudding recipes coming in Fresh & Green for Dinner.)

6. We make French toast with a dash of vanilla and maple in the custard, and we top it with a homemade concoction of fresh berries warmed in maple syrup and slightly mashed in the skillet. (Love to use the challah here, too.)

7. We make omelets with leftover roasted veggies or roasted tomatoes.

8. We make a rif on pasta carbonara with spring asparagus or garden peas.

9. We make thin, quiche-like tarts; my favorite is with fresh corn, basil, and tiny tomatoes.

10. Of  course, we make cookies and quickbreads and the occasional coffee cake, too. (Most often we use recipes from my favorite baker, Abby Dodge.)

11. We make veggie fritters or pancakes—sometimes with grains, too, or leftover mashed potatoes. We also make spoonbread, a favorite from my Dixie days.

12. But probably our favorite thing to do with eggs is to make a veggie frittata. Usually I make one big one, but sometimes I’ll make little ones in a mini-muffin tin. Frittatas (like the leek and spinach one below) are incredibly versatile; you can eat them for breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner. And they always taste better after sitting a bit (even overnight); I guess the flavors have more time to penetrate the custard. The method I learned years ago at Al Forno restaurant is easy to follow, and you can make up your own veggie combos, too. (I also love potatoes, mushrooms, corn, arugula, scallions, and broccoli in frittatas.) Just be sure to cook most veggies first to concentrate flavor and to reduce excess moisture. Be generous with fresh herbs and don’t forget the salt and pepper in the custard.

Leek, Spinach, Thyme & Gruyere Frittata

This easy frittata method starts out on the stovetop and finishes baking in the oven—but there’s no tricky flipping involved. After cooling, I like to cut the frittata into small squares, rather than wedges, so that bite-size snacks are easy to grab. It’s also a great way to go for a potluck, book group meeting, or other casual gathering.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 medium leeks (white and light green parts), sliced about 1/4-inch thick (about 2 cups) and well washed

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

3 ounces baby spinach leaves

6 large eggs at room temperature

2/3 cup half ’n half

1 tablespoon roughly chopped thyme leaves

big pinch nutmeg

freshly ground pepper

1 cup (3 oz.) coarsely grated Gruyère


Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Make sure one of your oven racks is positioned in the center of the oven.

In a 10-inch heavy nonstick (ovenproof) skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, season with a big pinch of salt, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened, 5 or 6 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are browned in spots, another 8 to 11 minutes. (Don’t worry if they get a little overbrown in places—that’s just great flavor.) Add the minced garlic and stir well. Add the spinach and 1/4 tsp. salt and, using tongs, toss and stir the spinach with the leeks until it is all wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the veggies cool a minute.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half ’n half, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, the thyme, the nutmeg, and several grinds of fresh pepper. Stir in the Gruyère.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to it. When the butter has melted, pour and scrape all the custard mixture into the skillet.  Using a silicone spatula, gently stir and move the contents of the pan around so that everything is evenly distributed. (You may have to nudge clumps of leeks and spinach apart.) Let the pan sit on the heat until the custard is just beginning to set all the way around the edge of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the frittata is puffed, golden, and set, 22 to 24  minutes.

Before unmolding, let the frittata cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Shake the pan a bit, tip it, and use a spatula (silicone works great) to get under the frittata and slide it gently out onto a cutting board or serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve warm, or wait for a bit longer and serve at room temp. Refrigerate leftovers; this is even better the next day.

Serves 4 to 6

Winter Skies & Parsnip Fries

With the sudden cold this week came a change in the sky. I looked up at twilight and there were those magical trees, spindly and Fantasia-esque, their branches bare and brittle, silhouetted against the bluer-than-blue sky of a December afternoon on the Vineyard. This windblown tree-scape of the Island winter might seem austere to some, but it’s comforting to me, and I’m glad it’s arrived—if seemingly overnight. This is the very vista that enveloped me when I arrived here three winters ago, spent and unsure. It offered me a wide-open gift of calm and space. The gnarly trees led me into the woods, down paths to hidden coves and rocky beaches, through tufted fields, around lichen-licked stone walls, up bumpy hills to breathtaking views. I’d always been afraid of the woods, but here, with sparkly views peeking through the leafless Beetlebungs and stubborn scrub oaks, I forged ahead and gained courage and confidence.

Now my favorite season on the Vineyard brings another intangible perk—friends circle together and catch up after the busy season. There are potlucks and indoor markets and special events like the winter film festival. But as it happens, you most often run into your friends at the post office and the grocery store. Me, I am at the grocery store a lot. So I get to see lots of friends, and I also get a peek at what everyone’s cooking.

The other day I ran into my hen-whisperer friend, Katherine Long. Not only does she have the most amazing chickens, chicken coops, and chicken eggs (of course), but she is a cook extraordinaire, so I love chatting with her. She was clutching a bag of parsnips. “Mom’s coming,” she said matter-of-factly. “And she wants veggies. I’m thinking maple-mustard parsnips.” “Perfect!” I said to her, “And what a coincidence…” I instantly remembered that I’d developed a delicious recipe for maple-mustard glazed parsnips for Fast, Fresh & Green, but that it was one I had to excise from the book (I wrote too many recipes, naturally).

Suddenly I had parsnips on the brain. I started to feel bad that I’d mentioned sweet potato fries last week, and hadn’t given poor parsnips their due. Parsnips, in fact, make excellent oven fries, though they are much drier than sweet potatoes. And they’re delicious sautéed, though all that sugar makes them brown up fast.

The next day I went straight to the Winter Farmers’ Market and bought the last bunch of freshly dug parsnips Morning Glory Farm had brought with them. (Copious greens still attached.) I’m sure there are more where those came from, as parsnips get sweeter when the ground freezes (the cold converts their starch to sugar), and they keep well in cold storage, too (kind of like the heartiest Islanders). Really, this pretty white root is the quintessential winter vegetable. So this week I’m offering up the recipe for the mustard-maple glazed parsnips and the directions for making the fries—to assuage my guilt for not having blogged about parsnips sooner. But also, to celebrate the arrival of winter—even if there is very little insulation in our charming little house and, it is, well, cold. I did say I loved winter on the Vineyard, didn’t I?

How to Cut Parsnips

I think parsnips look lovely and cook best when cut into long, thin pieces. I call these pieces “sticks,” and that’s a fine goal to aim for, but in reality many pieces will have tapered edges and some will be thicker than others. For small or medium sized parsnips, I don’t bother to cut the woody core out—it cooks up just fine. First I cut the long parsnip in half, crosswise, right about where it goes from fat to skinny. I quarter the skinny end lengthwise and usually wind up with 4 pieces between 1/4 and 3/8 inch thick. (Pieces on the skinnier side are a bit better for the sauté; you can cut the fries a bit fatter.) With the fat end of the parsnip, I cut a very thin sliver off of one side so that I can roll it over and stabilize it. Then I cut it lengthwise into planks (see top left in photo). Then I lay the planks down and cut them into sticks.

Maple-Mustard Glazed Parsnips

The trick to sautéing the parsnips in this recipe is to moderate the heat so that the veggies are cooking through and browning at the same time. On my stove, the ideal heat is around medium, but sometimes I wind up turning the heat down to medium-low to slow down the browning while the steaming catches up. But everyone’s stove is different, so keep an eye on the veggies. If they are browning too quickly (before they begin to lose their opacity), turn the heat down a bit. Lower and slower is better than higher and faster in this case. The easy maple-mustard glaze gives these a depth and richness that could stand up well to a hearty braise like a pot roast.


2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled and sliced into sticks 2 to 4 inches long and between 1/4- and 3/8-inch wide
kosher salt


In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and the mustard and set near the stove. Arrange a serving dish near the stove as well.

In a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the parsnips and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring gently and frequently (a silicone spatula works well), until the parsnips lose their opacity, become golden brown all over, and are tender, 15 to 17 minutes. (The parsnips will begin browning after 6 to 8 minutes. If they are browning too quickly—before they lose their opacity—turn the heat to medium-low. After stirring each time, spread the parsnips out in the pan so that they have maximum contact with the heat.)

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the maple-mustard mixture. Stir right away as the mixture reduces and coats the vegetables. Immediately transfer the parsnips and any sauce in the pan to a serving bowl. Let cool for a minute or two, taste and season with more salt if desired. Serve right away.

Serves 3 as a side dish

Roasted Parsnip Fries

When you buy a 1-lb. package of parsnips at the grocery, it will often contain more like 1 1/4 lb. Weigh your roots at home if you can, as 1 lb. is about the maximum for roasting on a large sheet pan. (The parsnips will steam rather than roast if they are too crowded. Use two pans if necessary.) The lime-maple drizzle here is very tasty, but optional. You could season the fries with spiced salt or serve with some other kind of dipping sauce, like honey-mustard.


1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and cut into sticks 2 to 3 inches long and 3/8-inch/1-cm wide
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (optional)
2 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
sea salt for sprinkling (optional)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large rimmed heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine the parsnip sticks with the olive oil and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Toss well and spread in one layer on the baking sheet. Roast until the “fries” are nicely browned (mostly on the bottoms) and tender, about 20 minutes. (If the pan is crowded, they can take 30 to 35 minutes. Check frequently as browning goes fast.) Let cool for a couple minutes on the sheet pans and then sprinkle with a bit more salt. Or combine the lime juice and maple syrup (if you like), drizzle over the fries, and season with coarse salt. Eat right away.

Serves 3 as a side dish

You Say Borlotti, I Say Cranberry—Beans, That Is

Halfway through the summer, I gave into temptation and bought a new packet of seeds for the vegetable garden. (Like I really needed more seeds—we had so many left over from our order last winter that I have enough to start the entire garden next year.) Right around the time our first carrot row emptied out, I happened to spot some Italian Borlotti beans at the garden center down the road. I had to have them.

I’ve always wanted to grow shell beans. I think it’s the whole popping-them-out-of-the-pod thing. It seems so peaceful to me—an activity you definitely have to slow down to enjoy. But these particular shell beans are special. First off, they’re pink. I’m not kidding—my favorite color. The crimson pods and the magenta-dappled beans are way too charming to pass up. Secondly (and yeah, a bit more importantly), Borlotti beans (usually called Cranberry beans in the States) are delicious. Cooked fresh, their creamy, meaty texture is like no dried or canned bean you’ve ever eaten. The only bummer thing is that they lose that beautiful color when cooked.

Because I planted my Borlotti beans late in the season, I didn’t expect much. In fact, after a little initial weeding to help the baby plants along, I kind of ignored them as summer waned and fall got busy. But every once in a while I’d catch a glimpse of pink among the weeds, and I discovered that the plants were producing lots of pods. As soon as the pods started plumping up, I’d zipper one open every time I visited the garden. I was trying to figure out when to harvest them. Were the beans ripe? They seemed big enough, but many of them also had a pale greenish hue—hardly white with pink spots. I couldn’t find any info on the internet, but I finally got my answer, almost by accident.

I took a few pods home one day to photograph, and as I was lining them up on the patio, I noticed that even though all the pods were predominantly pink, some of them were mottled with green, some with white. The pods that had the most white—almost the color of candy canes—had the nice white and magenta speckled ripe beans inside. The pods that had a mottled green background color still had the greenish beans inside. And there were gradations along the way; it seems the pods gradually change color as the beans ripen. At last, I’d finally figured out a way to tell if the beans were ripe without having to pick the pod and open it up first.

Saturday Roy and Libby and I pulled up most of the Borlotti bean plants. We were in a rush, trying to get some tidying done in the garden before heading to the Bronx Sunday morning for a book signing I’d been asked to do at The New York Botanical Garden’s Edible Garden event. So I snipped the pods off the plants, stuffed them in a bucket, and crammed them into the fridge at home.

This afternoon I got a chance to (slow down and) sort through the pods, and happily, a majority of them were more pink than green. I shelled enough pods just to get two cups of beans, as I want to make them last. I almost hated to cook with them they were so pretty. But I wanted to prepare them the way I’ve had them in Italian restaurants—with lots of garlic and rosemary. I wasn’t disappointed; they were as delicious as I remember—the perfect thing with a warm green salad and some crusty bread. And the bonus: Since they’re fresh, they cooked in less than 30 minutes (no soaking). (And actually, despite turning grey, they were still quite pretty when I photographed them, too, though you will just have to believe me. Unfortunately, I accidentally erased and recycled those photos tonight. Glad I don’t do that very often!)

Depending on where you live, you may still see the fresh beans at farmers’ markets or natural food stores this fall. But even if you don’t get a chance to cook them fresh this year, keep an eye out for dried Borlotti (or Cranberry) beans. They’re a classic addition to all kinds of Italian soups and stews like Pasta Fagioli and Minestrone.

Fresh Cranberry Beans with Bacon, Rosemary & Garlic

For a light supper, serve these beans with a warm escarole, spinach, or arugula salad and some crusty bread. If you have pancetta (Italian bacon), it would be a more authentic substitute for bacon, so feel free to use it. And if you want to go meatless altogether, no worries. The beans are still full of flavor cooked with just the rosemary and garlic and without the meat.

2 cups (10 oz.) shelled fresh cranberry beans (from about 1 ¼ lbs. pods)
kosher salt
extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, smashed, plus 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2 smal sprigs fresh rosemary plus 1½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 slices bacon
1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberry beans, ½ tsp. kosher salt, the rosemary sprigs, the smashed garlic clove, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook gently until the beans are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. (You should be able to mash them lightly with the back of a spoon.)

Transfer the beans with a slotted spoon to a bowl, and reserve the saucepan of cooking liquid. Remove the garlic and rosemary leaves from the beans.

In a medium heavy nonstick skillet, cook the bacon or pancetta over medium-low heat until the bacon is crisp, about 12 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Turn the heat to medium and add 1 Tbs. of extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet.

When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant and softened, about 1 minute. Add the beans, ½ tsp. kosher salt, ½ tsp. of the chopped rosemary, and a small amount (about ¼ cup) of the cooking liquid. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the cooking liquid has simmered down or been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar and another ½ tsp. chopped rosemary to the beans. Stir and transfer all the contents of the pan to a serving bowl and garnish with the bacon, crumbled, and the remaining ½ tsp. chopped rosemary. (If you don’t plan to eat all the beans tonight, save a little more of the cooking liquid to reheat them in tomorrow.)

Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish.

A Sweet Tooth and Her Caramelized Onions

Since I have a sweet tooth, turning vegetables into candy is a favorite pastime (see roasted beets and roasted tomatoes). Last week, after the grand sopping we got (more on the way from Hurricane Earl), we pulled up most of our onions in the garden, as they don’t like wet feet and looked like they were sort of gurgling in the muck.  I know you are supposed to grow onions in order to keep them in long storage all winter. But that may not be happening around here. I couldn’t stand watching all those beautiful onions drying out in the kitchen. I wanted to slice them and dice them and sauté them and roast them and and and…well, you know, I couldn’t wait. Friday I stole three nice plump onions off the rack and sliced them up. And made caramelized onions. There, I had my way.

Caramelized onions are something unto themselves. With their amazing flavor and almost jammy, condiment-y texture, they go well in, on, and around just about anything. Eggs, crostini, pasta, steaks, salads. The other night I threw some in with chopped tomatoes for a quick-simmered pan sauce for chicken thighs. Last night we put some on pizza. They keep in the fridge for at least a week (if you don’t eat them all), so every morning I mix a little with some fresh corn kernels and fresh thyme and add that to my scrambled eggs.

And, ta da!, I just happen to have a good recipe for caramelized onions up my sleeve. It’s one I developed for Fast, Fresh & Green but ultimately cut when we had too much content. While I love this classic preparation, I don’t really think of caramelized onions as a side dish so much as a dinner-booster, so it made sense to take it out of a book of side dishes.

My recipe takes the classic, slow-cooked, slowly browned onions a small step further by adding a bit of balsamic, honey and thyme at the end. (You could leave them out but I think they give everything a lift.) There is some technique to caramelizing onions. First off, they won’t cook evenly unless you “sweat” them first in a covered pan until they are translucent (middle photo above). Then, and only then, can you procede to browning the onions. The next big tip I learned from my old chef boss Lenny Greene: When onions start sticking to a hot pan (and leaving behind all those delicious brown nubbins), pull the pan off the heat and the onions will immediately begin releasing moisture, which will allow you to “wash” all those delicious brown bits back into the onions. You can do this frequently while caramelizing the onions, and every time you wash the browned bits back into the onions, they will get more golden. Lastly, I like to caramelize my onions over moderately low heat so that they cook most evenly. But if you’re in a hurry, you can bump up the heat a bit (after “sweating”) and speed the cooking along. Happy caramelizing!

Caramelized Onions Agrodolce


2 pounds yellow onions

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt, more for seasoning

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves


Slice the ends off of the onions, cut them in half lengthwise, and peel them.  Put each half, cut-side down, on a cutting board. Slice each onion half lengthwise in ¼-inch wide slices in a “radial” fashion by angling your knife in towards the core as you slice from one side to the other (as if you were slicing along longitudinal lines towards the axis of the earth). When you get half-way through, lay the rest of the onion over on its side for easier slicing and continue to slice towards the core. Discard any very thin or small pieces of onion. Slice the remaining halves in the same way. (See radial-cut onions in photo in text, above right.)

In a 10-inch straight-sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add all the onions and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.  Stir well, cover, and cook, stirring only every few minutes and putting the lid back on quickly, until all the onions are limp, translucent, and just beginning to stick to the pan, 12 to 14 minutes.

Uncover and cook, stirring more and more frequently, until most of the onions are the color of a caramel candy (some will be deeper amber), about 30 minutes. (Turn heat to medium if onions are browning too slowly for you.) The onions will stick to the pan frequently and will leave browned bits on the bottom of the pan. You will need to “wash” those browned bits back into the onions by doing two things. First, use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits up. Secondly, when there is a lot of browning in one place in the pan, pull the pan off the heat and let the onions sit for a few seconds. They will release moisture which will help unstick the browned bits; you can then sweep the onions back and forth across the browned bits to reincorporate them.

Mix the balsamic vinegar with two teaspoons water. Turn the heat to low, add the balsamic mixture, stir, and remove the pan from the heat. Continue stirring to incorporate all of the browning in the pan and to evaporate the liquids. Add the honey and thyme, and stir well again. Taste and season with a little more salt if needed. Let the onions sit a minute or two longer and stir again to incorporate any remaining browned bits in the pan. Let cool and transfer to a storage bowl if not using right away. They will keep in the fridge for a week.

Yields 1.5 cups

Today’s Tomato Destination: Easy Bruschetta

It blew like crazy last night. The garden is pretty disheveled—flattened in fact. The pole bean trellis (with all of its Jack-and-the-Beanstalk vines) is face down in the zinnias. The cosmos are hugging the ground like a dog that’s been chastised. And the little zucchinis on the new plants are bare and naked, exposed to the world after their protective leaves and stems snapped off like flimsy toothpicks.

No matter; we will clean it all up this weekend. In the mean time, with the rain still coming down (and traffic at the farm stand sluggish), harvesting seemed like a silly idea today. We’ll have to go back later in the afternoon and get the beans; they grow too big if left for more than a day, and we have about 4 pounds coming in every day. (Bean picking is hard on the back and time-consuming, too, but if you just go with it, it can be Zen-like.)

Fortunately we brought a ton more tomatoes in yesterday, as Mr. Rat is still on the loose. I was relieved to read on Facebook (yeah, what a source!) that real farmers are also bringing their tomatoes inside at first blush. Bad summer for pests, they say. Whew, this makes a start-up grower like me feel not so silly about the number (now in the hundreds) of under-ripe and semi-ripe tomatoes in our apartment.

However, the under-ripe tomatoes don’t scare me nearly as much as the ripe ones, as I don’t think there’s any way we will sell them all at the farm stand. (A good rainstorm like this comes along—and yesterday being Monday, too—and we only sell 2 pounds of tomatoes in a day, out of the 12 we put out on the stand!) I’ve given some to friends, and roasted a bunch this weekend, but deadlines (and life!) prevent me from spending time marketing them elsewhere. I’ve already told Roy that we’ll be eating green beans and tomatoes every night now for the next millennium, but I’m trying to make lunch out of this stuff, too.

So yesterday I had my V-8 moment—Oh, Bruschetta! I remembered how good and easy bruschetta is to make with ripe summer tomatoes, and I had a nice rustic loaf of bread on hand. So voila—here’s what came of it. Easy, easy. Tasty, tasty.

Summer Tomato Bruschetta


2 to 2 ½ cups diced, cored ripe summer tomatoes (3 to 4 medium tomatoes; no need to skin or seed, just chop)

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

10 to 12 medium-large leaves sweet basil, finely sliced or chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bread

few drops balsamic vinegar

few drops honey

kosher salt

4 to 6 slices rustic bread (each slice about 1-inch thick; I like a baguette cut on a sharp diagonal)


In a small mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, the garlic, the basil, the 2 tablespoons olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, the honey, and about ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Stir well to combine and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rub or drizzle the bread slices with a little more olive oil and toast them in a toaster oven or brown them under the broiler. Arrange the slices on two plates, sprinkle them with a tiny bit of salt, and spoon the tomato mixture over them. Let sit for a few minutes so that the bread soaks up a bit of the juices.

Serve for lunch or as a first course to dinner. You could also add some chopped grilled or sautéed shrimp to the tomato mix, and call this dinner.

Serves 2

A Tale of a Thousand Roasted Tomatoes

My friends will most definitely give me a hard time about this. Here I am, writing about roasted tomatoes—again. I love roasted tomatoes so much that I’ve written about them every chance I’ve gotten. If you want to slow-roast big, juicy beefsteaks or heirlooms, read how I do it over at Fine Cooking magazine’s website. (I even include lots of suggestions for ways to use roasted tomatoes.) But if you want almost-instant gratification, read on.

The recipe I’m posting here is a quicker version of roasted tomatoes, one I developed for Fast, Fresh & Green. It uses seeded plum tomatoes (which contain less moisture) and a high oven temp to get quicker caramelization. The reason I’m posting this recipe today is to thank all of the folks (like my best friend Eliza’s Mom, Bran Johnston, with me at Stonewall Kitchens, right) who’ve showed up at all my book signings this summer and gobbled up hundreds and hundreds of these things.

Early on in the whole book-publicity strategy plan, I decided that making the same recipe for every signing would keep my life a little simpler. Plus, I don’t have a lot of options for finger food in Fast, Fresh & Green, which is mostly side dishes. These roasted plum tomatoes conveniently fold up around a little piece of fresh mozzarella and a leaf of fresh basil to make “sandwiches” that I skewer with a toothpick (photo and recipe below). I can’t say that they’re the ideal finger food (caterer to the stars I am not), as they’re a little unwieldy and a bit messy. But they taste so intense that I absolutely don’t know anyone who hasn’t liked them on first bite.

Fortunately, Roy likes them, too. (Actually he likes roasted tomatoes better than fresh tomatoes—that’s a good thing, because judging by the burgeoning pile of tomatoes at our windowsill (left), I’m going to have to roast a lot of tomatoes pretty soon.) Roy has not only been a huge help with assembling the sandwiches at the last minute, but he has been lugging the cooler and several other heavy bags of tools and ingredients up and down the East Coast in an effort to make my life easier. For that he gets a lot of roasted tomatoes!

If you’re not sure what all the fuss is about, take the 15 minutes to cut a few plum tomatoes in half, pull out the seeds, season them with salt, a little sugar, a few thyme leaves, a bit of garlic, and lots of olive oil and throw them in the hot oven, and enjoy the aroma while you wait to taste.

By the way, the Ag Fair (officially called the 149th Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show & Fair) starts on Thursday here on the Island. (The Obama family arrives on Thursday, too, so yes, it’s pretty much a circus around here.) We’re entering our black cherry tomatoes and a few other veg and flowers, so we’ll let you know if we win a ribbon!

Roasted Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella “Sandwiches

These make great hors d’oeuvres or antipasto, but they’re also delicious on a dinner plate or tucked into a green salad, too.


1 recipe Caramelized Plum Tomatoes in an Olive Oil Bath (recipe follows), any excess oil drained

20 fresh basil leaves

8 mini-mozzarella balls (1 inch in diameter), each sliced into 3 to 4 pieces

kosher salt


Have ready a serving platter or shallow dish and twenty toothpicks or cocktail skewers.

Lay the plum tomatoes, cut side up , on a cutting board. Place a basil leaf, shiny side down, on each tomato half. Put a piece of mozzarella on one end of the tomato and sprinkle a little salt over it. Fold the other half of the tomato over the cheese and put a skewer through the “sandwich” at an angle, so that about 3/4 in of the skewer comes out the other side . It’s best to skewer through the folded-over ends of the tomato (and the cheese ), but not the middle , to prevent the “sandwich” from flopping open. Arrange the tomatoes on a serving pla tter in diagonal rows, tucking them close to one another.

Yields 20 sandwiches; serves 6 to 8

Caramelized Plum Tomatoes in An Olive Oil Bath

I’m always amazed at how a hot oven turns even the most pathetic, pale plum tomatoes into deeply flavored beauties. The generous amount of olive oil in this recipe has a purpose—as the water in the tomatoes evaporates, the oil replaces it and gently simmers and preserves the tomato flesh. When the tomatoes are finished cooking, you can lift one end and a good bit of the oil will spill out. Don’t be alarmed if the edges of some of your tomatoes (or some of the juices in the pan) look a little black ened. They will still taste delicious.  These tomatoes aren’t just a great side dish; they also make perfect crostini toppers, salad ingredients, or hors d’oeuvres (see page 42).


10 plum tomatoes

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt


2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (4 to 6 sprigs)

balsamic vinegar

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced crosswise into 10 to 12 slices each


Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Line a large heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. (I like to cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil, first, for easier clean up, but it’s not necessary.) Cut each tomato in half length wise, and, leaving in the core, scrape out the seeds and ribs with a tomato shark or a serrated spoon. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the parchment.

Arrange the tomato halves, cut side up, on the parchment.

Season the cavity of each tomato half with a pinch of salt, a good pinch of sugar, and some of the thyme leaves. Drizzle a few drops of balsamic vinegar inside each tomato half. (An easy way to do this is to pour some vinegar into a small bowl and use a 1/8 tsp. measure to distribute it. Or just hold your thumb over the vinegar bottle opening to dispense drops!) Drop a slice or two of garlic in each half , and pour 1 teaspoon of the olive oil into each half. It will look like a lot of olive oil; that’s okay.

Roast the tomatoes until they collapse and are brown around the edges, the garlic is browned, and the juices are somewhat caramelized on the sheet pan, 30 to 40 minutes. (At this temperature, you can roast them up to about 55 minutes before the bottoms get too dark. Some of the really hefty—and underripe—plum tomatoes may want to go this long to be tastiest.)

Let the tomatoes cool for a few minutes on the sheet pan. Carefully transfer them to a serving plate. (If the juices are very caramelized, the tomatoes may stick a bit; take care not to rip the skin.) Serve warm or at room temperature. They will also keep in the fridge for about a week.

Yields 20 tomato halves; serves 6

Summer’s First Basil Pesto—And 10 Things To Do With It

A nice couple stopped by the farm stand early this morning while I was still getting the veggies and herbs set up. “We’re in need of basil,” they announced. “How much?” I said. “About this much,” the man gestured, hands open as if he were about to pass a basketball. “Okay, I’ll go pick it for you if you’ve got a second. You can go take a look at the baby goats if you like.”

Off they went and I headed to the garden to harvest the basil. We’ve got sweet basil, lime basil, Thai basil (right), and purple basil, all flourishing in the semi-shade among the tomato plants. Those tomatoes, so spindly when we transplanted them, are now lush and vigorous, covered with little yellow blossoms and tiny green fruits. We planted 40 tomato plants, and basil between each, so basil is something we have oodles of. I was so happy to be able to go out and harvest something I grew myself and hand it over to some appreciative folks who wanted and needed it.

This whole weekend has been like that. Out by the road, we have a new sign that Roy made, and with the crush of visitors to the Island for the July 4th holiday (and those adorable baby goats), the farm stand is hopping. This morning we sold our first harvest of fingerling potatoes, and yesterday we couldn’t keep bunches of carrots around for longer than it took to pull them out of the ground.  I get goose bumps just thinking about it—I’ve always wanted to grow and sell vegetables, and now here we are actually doing it. Only wish we had planted more, as we can already see we’ll run out of carrots (and lots of stuff) well before the next planting can mature.

Now I have another dilemma. We’re going to a potluck party this afternoon, and I, of course, have to bring something garden-y, something vegetable-y—something you’d expect the author of a vegetable cookbook who grows vegetables to bring to a potluck. But I don’t want to harvest anything we can sell!! So I thought about that basil. There’s plenty of it, and the more you pick it, the bushier it gets. So last night I made my first batch of pesto for the summer.

I had the Parmigiano and the olive oil, but my pine nuts were rancid. After swearing at the Stop ‘n Shop, I decided to make pesto without nuts.  (I don’t know why I go anywhere near that grocery store, except that last weekend I had a cooking demonstration to do at Morning Glory Farm, and needed a lot of pine nuts for a Swiss chard dish. Two out of the three jars I bought were bad. Yuck. Be sure to smell nuts before you use them, and when you buy them fresh, store them in the freezer if you’ll not be using them all right away.)

My pesto came out plenty tasty. (I added a little parsley, too, to keep it a bit greener.) So you can certainly make pesto without pine nuts, or you can substitute walnuts or almonds. But ideally, I not only like to use the pine nuts, but I also like to toast them first to pump up the flavor. Here’s the basic basil pesto recipe I usually follow (more or less!). I find the food processer easiest for making a quick pesto. Following the recipe are some ideas for what to do with your pesto once you make it.

Food Processor Basil Pesto


A 1-inch chunk of Parmigiano or ¼ cup grated Parmigiano

1 clove garlic

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon plus ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt

several grinds of fresh pepper


Get out your food processor. (I have a smallish one I like to use. Not tiny, but not huge.)

If your Parmigiano is a chunk, cut off about a 1-inch piece and process that until it is nicely grated. (Grating Parmigiano in the food processor turns it into fine sandy pebbles, giving a bit more body to something like pesto than finely grated cheese would.) Add the garlic clove and process until minced.

If you’re using grated Parmigiano (and make sure it is Parmigiano, not the pre-grated fake stuff, which will taste like dust, or worse), start by putting the garlic clove in the processor first and processing it until minced. Then add the grated cheese. Next, add all of the toasted pine nuts and process.

Add all of the basil, a good pinch of salt, several grinds of fresh pepper and a tablespoon or so of the olive oil. Process until very pasty. Then, with the processor running, gradually add the rest of the olive oil—or as much as you like—through the feed tube to get a nice, smooth pesto. Adding the olive oil with the motor running will help the pesto emulsify a bit for a more creamy texture. Taste again and add more salt and pepper to taste if you like.

Yields about 1 cup.

How to use your pesto:

  • In a vinaigrette. Combine with white balsamic vinegar, a little lemon juice and a bit more olive oil. Drizzle on grilled vegetables, green beans or new potatoes.
  • On pizza. Use as a base instead of tomato sauce. Add sliced cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
  • In sandwiches. Sure, you can use it on bread, but try it in a different kind of sandwich—one made with two slices of grilled eggplant or grilled zucchini. After cooking the veggies, let them cool and put a bit of goat cheese or mozzarella and some pesto between two slices for a fun appetizer or side dish.
  • On pasta, of course! Toss with warm angel hair or linguine, fresh peas, and grilled shrimp. Yum.
  • With fish. Top a white fish fillet like halibut or striper with a bit of pesto and some fresh breadcrumbs before baking.
  • On crostini. Slice and toast baguette, spread with pesto, top with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a roasted or sundried tomato.
  • With soup. Swril a little pesto into a cold carrot or potato or tomato soup. Or drizzle some into a seafood chowder.
  • In a dip. Layer softened goat cheese, pesto, chopped sundried tomatoes, and chopped toasted pine nuts in a wide, straight-sided dish (4 or 5 inches across, a few inches deep). Repeat the layers. Serve with crackers or bread.
  • With eggs. Add a little pesto to omelettes, frittatas, or even scrambled eggs.
  • On tomatoes. Dress up the classic tomato and fresh mozzarella antipasto with pesto instead of fresh basil and a smattering of pitted Nicoise olives.

Beet Candy—Bet You Can’t Eat Just One

It is well documented that I will roast anything that will stand still long enough. So yesterday, when I accidentally harvested some baby beets while pulling weeds, the beets didn’t stand a chance. I’d barely been home for a minute when I turned the oven on to 450°F.

While I’m happy to slow-roast beets at a lower temperature, my very favorite thing to do with them is to slice them thinly and cook them hot and fast. The resulting “chips” are so sweet that I sometimes call them beet candy. I first discovered I could make beet candy when chef George Germon let me concoct a salad for the menu one night at Al Forno restaurant in Providence, RI, where I was a cook. He had some lovely mâche (a delicate leafy green), and I thought beets, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts would complement it. But I didn’t have a lot of time, and the wood-fired ovens at Al Forno are always running super-hot, so I decided to slice the beets really thinly and spread them out on a baking sheet to roast quickly. When they came out of the oven, they were shrivel-y and a bit black around the edges, but incredibly tender and sweet—in that deeply caramelized roasty-toasty kind of way.

I’ve loved these quick-roasted beets ever since. So much so that I keep writing about them. Fine Cooking.  Fast, Fresh & Green.  Now Sixburnersue. You’ll have to forgive me, but here I go again with the recipe—in case you missed it. It’s such a great way to convert beet haters into beet lovers that I don’t want anyone to be without it in beet season.

You can gobble quick-roasted beet slices right off the sheet pan. Or toss them into a citrus marinade (after roasting) and tuck them into salads. Sometimes I like to gussy them up by making little beet and goat cheese sandwiches, which I serve as appetizers. I mix some fresh goat cheese with a small amount of chopped fresh herbs or lemon zest, then dollop some on one beet slice, and top that with another. Yeah, a little fussy, but so darn cute.

Quick-Roasted Beets

This recipe is adapted from the version in Fast, Fresh & Green. The only slightly tricky part is slicing the beets. Start with a sharp, thin-bladed knife (I love my ceramic knife). Then, if your beets are too wobbly or unwieldy to hold straight, slice a very small sliver off the bottom and the beet will stay more stable when slicing. Then just cut round slices that are between 1/8 and ¼-inch thick (3/16 is ideal!). You don’t want paper-thin, or the beets will burn, so there’s no need to get out the mandolin.  Here’s another tip: to prevent your cutting board from getting stained with beet juice, cover it with a piece of parchment paper or part of a brown paper bag before slicing.


About ½ pound beet roots (1 bunch, about 4 or 5 small or 3 medium, stalks and leaves trimmed), scrubbed but unpeeled, very thinly sliced crosswise

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves (optional)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large (18- x 13- x 1-inch) heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. Put the beet slices in a mixing bowl and toss thoroughly with the salt, thyme, and olive oil. Arrange the slices, evenly spaced, on the sheet pan (it’s okay if they touch). Roast until the beets are tender, shrunken, wrinkled, and glistening, 16 to 18 minutes. (If your beets are very small, they can roast in as little as 10 to 12 minutes.) The smallest slices will be black around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes and serve warm. Or refrigerate for up to a couple of days.

Serves 2 as a side dish or 4 as an appetizer