A hearty French Country dish of winter vegetables.
12 fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 large shallots, quartered
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 bunch golden beets, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 bunch baby turnips, scrubbed and trimmed
1 bunch carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces on the diagonal
2 parsnips, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces on the diagonal
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1-1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 tsp unbleached raw sugar
5 oz. roasted peeled chestnuts**
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
Finishing oil for drizzling
Fleur de sel or sel gris
Handful caper berries
Oil-cured black olives or kalamata olives for topping
** To roast fresh chestnuts, make a crisscross slit on the domed side of the chestnut with a thin, sharp knife. Roast at 425°F until the shells look as if they are about to peel off at the incision, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and peel while warm, or add to a recipe as directed.
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the potatoes with 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Toss the cauliflower and shallots in the same bowl with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, and spread out on a second baking sheet. Cover both baking sheets loosely with aluminum foil and
roast until the vegetables are tender but with just a little browning, about 40 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon as needed.
Step 2. Meanwhile, in a large, shallow straight-sided skillet, melt 2 tbsp of the butter. Add the beets, turnips, carrots, and parsnips and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, add the thyme and enough stock to come about halfway up the vegetables (you want them to steam, not completely boil). Cover loosely with foil, bring to a simmer, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the stock reduced to 2 to 3 tbsp of liquid, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the foil and reduce the stock further, if needed. Set aside until the roasted vegetables are cooked.
Step 3. When the roasted vegetables are cooked, add 2 tbsp butter and the sugar to the beets, turnips, carrots, and parsnips. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until heated through and glazed, about 4 minutes. Add the chestnuts and toss to glaze. And the roasted vegetables to the skillet and toss together with 2 tbsp butter and parsley. Drizzle with finishing oil and season with fleur de sel and pepper.
Step 4. Divide among bowls, making sure each one has an even mix of vegetables and chestnuts. Top with caper berries and olives. Serve warm.
*** Seasoning throughout this dish is vital to make sure each individual vegetable arrives at the table at its very best. If you decide to use red instead of golden beets, braise them separately and toss in with the finishing oil at the very end to avoid serving a bowl of uniformly pink vegetables.