- KaimukiMan Sep 17, 2012 12:47 PM
OK, I've more or less mastered carmelized onion, I get that deep brown color, the rich sweet flavor, and I hardly burn them at all any more. So what other vegetables can be caramelized? Carrots? Parsnips? Turnips? I've tried googling but haven't really found anything, at least nothing that didn't require dumping a bunch of sugar in.
Any root, corm, tuber,cucurbitous, or cruciferous vegetable. That's most everything but peas and beans (which probably could be done too). Caramelization is what makes roasted vegetables so good. In caramelized vegetables, some of the starch has turned to sugar - you don't need to add extra sweetness unless your particular produce was harvested too early..Sounds like you are doing the onions on the stovetop, which is fine, but search this board for JoanN's recipe for oven-caramelized onions, which are easier and less likely to burn if you don't stay on top of them. Grilling corn on the cob is a popular way to caramelize it, but you can also saute the cut kernels in butter or oil until they get nicely brown at the edges. For most vegetables, oil then roast from raw, or parcook first via microwave or steaming, to speed the process if you are pressed for time.
I get excellent caramelization on green beans either on the stovetop or in the oven without steaming. Just toss beans with oil and stick in a 400 degree oven until they're dark brown in places, or saute them over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet without crowding the pan or stirring too frequently.
My favourite is sweet potato - no need to prepare or add anything, just put it (whole) in the oven!
Put your parsnips and carrots in a parchment paper bag, season with coarse salt and cook in oven with your main entree (roast) for example and you will certainly have some carmelization on the veggies in the bag.
Carrots caramelize beautifully in the oven. Olive oil, S&P, 425 oven, 30-45 minutes, depending on how big (fat) the carrots are. Just be sure to move them around in the pan once or twice so they brown all over.
Cauliflower in the oven as well. Somewhere on these boards someone suggested slicing the cauliflower, which creates amazing caramelization because you create a flat surface (at least on one side, sometimes two), which promotes more even burning. I break the cauliflower down into large florets, then slice the florets through the stem side, trying to get 3 pieces - two with one flat side, one with two flat sides. I try to get the center piece to be about 1/2 inch thick. Lay the pieces on a baking sheet. Olive oil, S&P. 425, start checking them at about 20 minutes, but they will probably take longer. Flip them over when the bottoms start to caramelize so both side roast evenly. It's amazing how much they will shrink down, but then they get all brown and chewy and sweet. It's one of my favorite snacks to make on a Saturday when I'm doing housework all day.
I love to make caramelized cabbage. Super-easy. Core a head of cabbage. Slice into one-and-a-half-inch strips, then slice the strips to make one-and-a-half-inch or so squares. Separate the cabbage so you have loose pieces. Put in a large saute pan with a couple pats of butter - probably 1+ tablespoon max. S&P if you like, but I usually don't use them with cabbage. Heat filled pan over medium/medium low heat, stir after about 10 minutes, then only stir when it sounds like it's sizzling too much. Adjust the heat if it sounds like it's sizzling too much. Kind of like when you're doing the onions - I let the sound guide me more than anything. Again, just like onions, don't let the cabbage burn; you want a nice, slow browning to happen. It will take at least a half an hour to do a full pan (I usually get half a head of cabbage in one pan). It could take even longer. I never thought of it this way until just now, but it's basically the same technique as caramelizing onions. The resulting caramelized cabbage will taste like candy - I swear! It's one of my DH's most requested side dishes, and he NEVER ate cabbage before we were married, and I had to really cajole him to get him to try it the first time I made it.
I've done Brussels sprouts similar to the cabbage, but it's a battle because they are not universally loved (not even tolerated) in my house, and it's a lot of work to make them for just myself, so I haven't mastered them.
There are many more, but these are my favorites. I hope you enjoy some of these ideas!
Thanks for all your input. In this case I had a specific goal in mind, but wanted to start out with some broad input first. Some of these will definitely be showing up in my kitchen over the next couple of months.
I was making vegetarian pork and beans (yes, an oxymoron) so i wanted to really get some roasted flavor. While I didn't find JoanN's recipe, it gave me enough of a headstart to google some things. I ended up with a lot of onions (6 pounds) and a pound of carrots that I used a peeler on to whittle into strips. All that went into the crock pot on high for about 8 hours, dumping (and reserving) the liquid about every two hours. They weren't quite carmelized enough for me, so i finished them in the skillet, but that only took about 10 or 15 minutes, instead of the 30 or 45 it normally would. They turned out beautifully. Added the soy dogs and soy chorizo along with the other ingrediments at about 10 last night and it has been on warm simmering away all night.
my favorites when they get deep brown and oh so good...
...really, what *isn't* better caramelized?!