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May 21, 2010 11:42 AM

Why add flour when oven-roasting vegetables?

Last night, I made a recipe for Baked Zucchini with Herbs and Tomatoes. (This was from an NPR article on Amanda Hesser and included recipes from her "Cooking for Mr. Latte" book.) The recipe called for seasoning a mixture of zucchini, an onion, scallions and herbs with salt, and then, sprinkling 1/4 cup of flour over it all and pressing and tossing ingredients together until well mixed and lightly coated with flour (will get a little moist, but should not get gooey). Then you add tomatoes, season again with salt, and toss once more. It bakes for 20 minutes at 425 in a baking dish.

My question is - why would a recipe call for mixing vegetables with flour? I have made roasted vegetables often, but have never come across a suggestion for flour. The only difference I could see was that the liquid exuded from the vegetables (due to the salt?) was a little thicker than normal. But I didn't care for the "gooeyness" that was on the zucchini.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

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  1. The only thing I can guess is that it was to thicken the extra juice from the tomatoes?

    I'm with you though -- I would greatly prefer my roasted veggies without any kind of thickener. I have not done tomatoes WITH other roasted veggies. Since you didn't like the gooeyness, if you liked the other flavors, I'd try doing the zucchini and other ingredients as you normally would roast them (I'd do some olive oil and salt) and roast the tomatoes separately in smaller pieces on their own pan (with some oo and herbs). That way, you can control how dry (or not) the tomatoes are and get the carmelization you want on them. Then it would be easy enough to combine the whole batch together.

    Just my 2 cents.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eamcd

      I'm with you; I like a nice Tian of zucchini and tomatoes, layered neatly and seasoned with herbs, then baked and allowed to cool before eating. No flour, no breadcrumbs, no nothing, just straight summer vegetables roasted with all their juices and flavor.

      Here's a link with a recipe and nice photo to illustrate what I'm talking about. It includes eggplant as well, which absorbs some of the vegetable juices:

    2. My first thought was maybe it was an attempt at some sort of crust.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MandalayVA

        Maybe it's to absorb moisture. I know when I roast vegetable they carmelize much better if they are completely dry before brushing with oil. When I make roasted cauliflower I try to wash the cauliflower the night before and let it air dry in the refrigerator before preparing it for the oven,.

      2. think it's a mouth-feel kind of thing. we thought the hesser recipe was awesome and i've since tried the idea with other veg and fruit combinations. kind of like when you eat a pot pie with a real dough crust and you break the crust into the soupy contents.

        1. Baking dish instead of sheet pan, and no oil? What you made is a baked vegetable casserole, not roasted vegetables. Roasting vegetables, unless you overcrowd the pan, will not have liquid in the pan when finished, just some moist brown fond. If you've been getting measurable liquid after roasting the way you usually do it, you are either crowding your pan, using too low a temp, or not roasting them for long enough.

          1. Sounds more like a vegetable scallop with the addition of tomatoes rather than roasting.