Fall is one of the special times of the year. The vibrant colors, the sparkling sun (which is very very soothing after the the burning summer sun of Texas), the light breeze with an occasional nip which reminds you that winter is not far away but at the same time makes you breathe in and soak up the warmth of the daylight, that sudden rustle you hear that gathers up all the fallen leaves to a heap at the corner – it is like the nature is whispering and planning to make everything around look and feel beautiful!
It is also my little one’s birthday during fall. She turned 4 yesterday! Years are flying, whizzing by me real fast;I remember the first time I held her, touched her soft head with my cheeks and lips, breathed in that beautiful smell, touched her dimple on her plump pink cheeks and laughed at the big bubble she blew out of her mouth. Fours years later she is a vivacious, intelligent, sparkling little princess with a big sense of humor; my baby is getting big, but I am not ready to move at this speed.
Here is what I did with a bunch of root vegetables I got last week. The vegetables still had dirt on them and I love it; the dirt tells me that the vegetables are fresh and crisp offering the best of the season. I did not want them to wilt in the fridge, so I prepared them all together in one dish. I had not planned to use the fennel bulb but I am really glad that I did. A simple recipe which becomes really special with the use of saffron. Saffron adds that mild but extraordinary flavor to the very earthy vegetables.
(The honey that I have used for the glaze may be substituted with maple syrup or apple cider – great for the fall time!, or any kind of nectar.)
Saffron and Honey Glazed Root Vegetables
- 1 Rutabaga, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 2 Carrots, well scrubbed and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 2 Parsnip, well scrubbed, and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1 Onion, peeled and diced diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1 Fennel Bulb, washed well and cut into wedges with the end intact
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 Cup Honey
- 1/2 Teaspoon of good quality Saffron
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Crushed Red Pepper (Optional)
- 2 Tablespoons Vinegar or Fresh Lemon Juice (which ever you prefer)
- Some chopped Parsley for Garnish
- Some Thyme Sprigs (or any other herb; I like using Rosemary too.)
Other Root Vegetables to Use: Turnips, Beets (Red or Golden), Celeriac.
Take a large thick bottomed skillet or a cast iron skillet. Place it on very high heat and put the honey and the saffron in the pan. When the honey starts to bubble (after a couple of minutes), add all the vegetables except for the fennel bulb ( I like to save this for later as I do not like them overcooked; if you do not have such reservations add them now along with the other vegetables) to the pan/skillet and lower the heat to medium; stir and toss while cooking for about 12 -15 minutes till the vegetables are well coated and glazed.
Drizzle half the amount of the olive oil on the vegetables; add the salt. Reduce the heat to somewhere between low to medium and continue cooking for about 10 -12 minutes. Add the wedges of the fennel bulb now if you have not done it before. Cook till the vegetables are cooked though, but still firm, for another 15 minutes. You will know it is done when the vegetables are fork tender and have light brown spots/coating on them.
Alternate Method/Oven Method:
(Make sure to use an oven proof pan/skillet). Transfer the skillet in a preheated oven (425 Degree F), and roast the vegetables for about 25 – 30 minutes or until cooked and glazed.
Combine the rest of the Olive Oil, Vinegar/Lemon Juice, Crushed Black Pepper, Red Pepper and some chopped Thyme (or any other herb if you are using). Pour the mix on the cooked vegetables and toss well to combine.
Serve them with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and garnish with thyme sprigs.
The key ingredient here to making it wonderfully fragrant was definitely Saffron.
Serve as a warm salad topped with feta or goat cheese or cheese of your choice. I am not too fond of cheese; I like mine on some couscous or on a bed of wild rice.
This dish also serves as a marvelous side dish, esp. when cooked for cozy, warm friends/family get together.
This is going to the NCR hosted by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen.