I got this recipe from a friend in California who is an excellent cook, and the first time I made it was for a holiday dinner we were invited to in Santa Monica. This dish is a perfect choice for a large crowd because it’s both delicious and looks pretty (eye candy) and is actually an easier recipe to make for many, rather than just a few. With Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s around the corner, this is the perfect side dish for any party or holiday meal.
Serves: 8-10 (side course)
4 quarts water
Finely ground sea salt
1 lb. small mixed potatoes (yukon, purple, red) rinsed
6 – 8 carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 lb jumbo asparagus, tough ends removed
1 lb. cipollini onions, cut in half through the stem and then peeled
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
¾ lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and caps cut into quarters
¼ c. thinly sliced garlic
1 tbsp. Finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp. Fennel seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a stockpot, boil water and add 2 tbsp of salt. Add potatoes and reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer briskly for 6 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to simmer for 2 minutes. Finally, add the asparagus and onions and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Drain the vegetables in a colander, spread them out on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for them to cool quickly.
- In the meantime, place a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add ¼ cup of olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mushrooms in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until well caramelized on the first side (about 4 minutes). Turn the mushrooms once, add the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Then transfer the mushrooms and garlic to a plate and set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Remove vegetables from the refrigerator. Quarter the potatoes and cut the carrots and the asparagus on the diagonal into 1-½ inch pieces. Return the skillet to medium high heat and add the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes in a single layer and cook, turning once, until they just begin to brown (about 6 minutes). Add the carrots and onions and continue to cook until all the vegetables are lightly browned (about 5 minutes longer). Season with salt and pepper
- Put the pan in the oven and roast the vegetables until they are medium brown (about 20 minutes). Add the reserved mushrooms, asparagus, thyme, and the fennel seeds. Toss well, and return to the oven for 5 minutes to continue browning and to heat through the asparagus and mushrooms.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven, taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve warm.
By the way, the vegetables can be roasted in advance and left at room temperature for 1 – 2 hours. Then just before serving, reheat for 10 – 12 minutes at 400 degrees.