This is Part 2 of the edible holiday centerpiece series I’m doing. And because I’m really creative, it’s another wreath. But that’s okay, because it’s a delicious and simple one.
If you’ve never roasted vegetables, you’re missing out. It’s how I cook vegetables, especially the winter ones, the vast majority of the time. Roasting is really simple, and it brings out the natural flavors of vegetables. They become crispy on the outside and soft inside. There are plenty of recipes that add other flavors to the mix, but I prefer to let the vegetables speak for themselves. It’s been known several times to make people like vegetables they thought they didn’t even like before. Have I used the word “vegetables” enough yet?
For this wreath, I stuck with just brussels sprouts and red potatoes, and used a few strips of roasted red pepper I already had. I just chose those based on appearance for the centerpiece and because they’re my favorites to have roasted.
You will need:
- 3/4 lb baby red potatoes
- 12 oz raw brussels sprouts
- about 10 stems of rosemary
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
These are just the numbers I used for a somewhat large plate. I’d say it would have fed 4 as a side. If I had shared it. If you’re making this for a larger party or something, just adapt it. You can also substitute nearly any vegetables you prefer. It may seem odd that I listed potatoes by weight and brussels by volume, but that’s how my stores always carry them.
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Wash your vegetables and thoroughly dry. Confession: I usually don’t actually wash mine simply because I can’t be bothered to dry them. But just know that a wet veggie won’t roast to a crispy exterior. Cut the brussels sprouts first. Just leave the really small ones whole, and cut the bigger ones in half. If any of the outermost leaves look like they might fall off, or just aren’t pretty, trim them off. You can take the woodier stalks off when necessary too. For the potatoes, cut the smaller ones in half and quarter the larger ones. You can chop up thick strips of red pepper here too if you don’t have some on hand. Basically just try to get all the veggies roughly the same size, but it doesn’t need to be too perfect at all.
Toss these onto an ungreased baking sheet. Then generously drizzle over your olive oil. Like, really generously. I don’t use specific amounts for roasting, just judge by eye. It’s just easier to pour olive oil straight from the bottle. I’d estimate I use a little less than 1/4 a cup though. Now grind some black pepper over the top, but not salt (yet). Get your hands in there and toss to coat all the vegetables on all sides. Add more oil if necessary. Once they’re all coated, just spread them around so nothing overlaps. I like to have everything cut-side-down. Throw a couple of your rosemary stems in there, and use another to pull individuals leaves and sprigs off of to scatter in there
Roast these for 18 minutes, then take them out just to turn them. While you have them out, grind or sprinkle some salt over them. Sea salt or kosher work best here if you have them. If you salt too early, it draws moisture from the vegetables, also threatening your crispiness factor.
Return them to the oven for about 12 more minutes. I discard the whole rosemary sprigs. Now all you have to do is arrange them. Put all but a few of your remaining rosemary branches around the edge of the plate in a circle, where you want your wreath to be. Then just arrange your roasted vegetables on top of them, letting them show around the edges sometimes. Garnish with the last few around the outside. I arranged by whole wreath before laying the red pepper strips over parts of the wreath to add festive pops of red.
These roasted vegetables are definitely delicious and beautiful enough to impress when used as the centerpiece of your holiday spread. Personally I think they look best on a more earthy or rustic looking plate. Enjoy!