Caramelized Onions And Roasted Veggies
As promised, here's a little more detail about some of the fillings I made for the vols-au-vent. My favorites of the savory ingredients were the caramelized onions and roasted veggies. I made these the night before, stored them in the fridge, and then set them out on a platter the night of the party so they could come to room temperature. There was no need to reheat them since we were putting the fillings inside the vols-au-vent and then baking them.
To make the onions, I roughly followed a recipe from Panini Express: 70 Delicious Recipes Hot Off the Press, a beautiful cookbook published by The Taunton Press. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out. I love the layout, font choices, pictures, and, of course, the recipes.
Caramelized Onions (adapted from Panini Express)
Thinly slice two large onions.
Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, 1 garlic clove (minced), and 4 teaspoons brown sugar.
Mix together and saute, stirring occasionally until golden brown. The original recipe says this takes about 40 minutes, but my onions took an hour.
You can let them cool and then store them in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Use them for your own vols-au-vent or on sandwiches or pizza!
While the onions were cooking, I roasted some other veggies in the oven. I used another recipe from Panini Express for the roasted tomatoes and just threw together the rest of the roasted veggies. The roasted tomato recipe called for the oven to be at 200 degrees and for the tomatoes to be roasted for 4 to 5 hours. I was running short on time after about 3 hours, so I upped the oven to 350 for about half an hour to finish everything off. You can adapt the recipe to your timing needs.
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes And Other Veggies (inspired by Panini Express)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Set oven racks so there's equal space between them. Line 3 sheet pans with foil, and set a cooling rack inside one of them.
Thinly slice summer squash and zucchini (1 or 2 of each). I used the slicing blade in my food processor to get super-thin slices. Place these on one of the foil-lined sheets, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
Peel and dice a small eggplant. Trim ends off a handful or so of green beans. Cut a broccoli crown into small florets. Place all of these on foil-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
Take 6 plum tomatoes and cut them in half lenthwise. Line them on cooling rack set in baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle them with a little salt.
Place all three trays in the oven. Check veggies every half hour. Mix around all but the tomatoes if and when they seem to be browning unevenly.
When the veggies are roasted to your liking, remove them from the oven. Use right away or let them cool, and store them in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
The squash and the zucchini were done first for me because they were so thin. Next I removed the tray with the eggplant, green beans, and broccoli. As I explained above, I eventually turned up the heat a bit because the tomatoes were taking forever (the other veggies were still in the oven when I did this, and this sped them along too). I took the tomatoes out after about 3 and a half hours, but they probably could have roasted even a little longer. Once your tomatoes are done, drizzle them with a bit of olive oil too.
Everyone loved all of these veggies in the vols-au-vent. I even sent my friends home with the leftovers because they liked them so much and I had more veggies than I knew what to do with. One of my friends made a roasted veggie quesadilla with her leftovers. I mixed mine up with some leftover ravioli. I think a roasted veggie pizza with goat cheese would have been delicious as well!
It's nice to be able to make these and have them on hand for a few days to toss into whatever dishes you might want. There are tons of possibilities. What would you do with a whole bunch of roasted veggies?
Interesting coincidence: I just learned from Kim at The Ungourmet that today is World Vegetarian Day. I guess this post was well timed. Check out her veggie post too!