The most wonderful time of year is also a busy time of year. “What to make for dinner?” is the million-dollar question most nights. Sheet-pan suppers are all the rage. Everything is cooked in one pan at the same time, or about.
A half-sheet pan is a wide, shallow baking pan made from aluminum or stainless steel whose low sides encourage airflow and browning. Half-sheet pans are 18-by-13 inches with a 1-inch rim. A kitchen workhorse, it’s the go-to pan for roasting vegetables, meats and often entire meals. I use mine daily and hopefully you already have one (or several) in your kitchen. If you don’t own one, I suggest you make this purchase a priority.
The quarter sheet pan is 9-by-13 inches and is great for cooking several ingredients in the oven at once without letting the flavors intermingle.
Think of a tasty supper that takes the one-pot meal and flips it onto a pan, a sheet pan. Just start with your protein of choice, then add vegetables, fat and flavorings, and roast at high heat until everything is golden brown.
Protein: poultry, beef, pork, fish, sausage or tofu. You’ll want to start with ¼ to ¾ pound per serving, to be supplemented with vegetables. Keep size of each piece uniform. Drizzle with oil. Don’t forget a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Vegetables: Dense vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash take the longest to cook, depending on oven temperature and chunk size.
Softer vegetables such as asparagus, beets, broccoli, broccolini, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, chick peas (canned), eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, onions, peppers (red, green, orange, yellow), summer squash and zucchini are great additions.
Many vegetables cook down significantly under roasting at high temperatures, so always add more than what you think will be enough. They will shrink down a least a quarter in size. You will want to cut the vegetables all the same size. Just as you did with your protein, you’ll want to coat them with an oil or fat and any herbs or spices of your choosing, salt and pepper, and give them plenty of space on the pan to encourage browning.
Fat: Olive oil is my favorite, but other oils and fats, like coconut oil and duck fat, add great flavors. Melted butter lends a nice flavor. Add butter in combination with olive oil. For a neutral flavor, appropriate choices are canola oil or grapeseed oil. Roasted sesame oil should only be used as a flavoring component just prior to serving. Add the ingredients to a big lightweight bowl to toss with the fat of your choice, just until they are lightly coated.
Build flavor: Use fresh and tasty seasonings. Herbs, spices and garnishes all add to the appeal of the completed pan you will enjoy as dinner.
If you are planning on adding herbs to your ingredients prior to roasting, you will want to add the sturdier types such as rosemary, tarragon, thyme, oregano, marjoram, bay leaves, and sage.
A vibrant finish and presentation: Think about the addition of fresh delicate herbs such as chives, basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint. I love the brightness of citrus, so add a few squeezes of lemon, lime or orange. Consider drizzles of vinegar, yogurt, or vinaigrettes. Even a bottled salad dressing can be a great accompaniment. Cheese, grated or crumbled; a few spoons of salsa, chutney, quick-pickled onions, Chile paste or hot sauce. This will add some pizzazz and more flavor to the finished dish.
Sheet Pan Lemon and Garlic White Fish and Vegetable Medley
• 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2- inch chunks
• 4 large fresh Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
• 1 carrot, cut 1/2- inch chunks
• 1 cup sugar snap peas left whole
• 1 clove fresh garlic, sliced
• ½ lemon cut into wedges
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
• A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cod or halibut fillets (6 ounces each)
• 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
• 2 tablespoon butter, softened
Preheat oven to 425°. Place a sheet pan in oven to get hot while oven heats.
1. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrot, sugar snap peas, carrot, garlic and lemon. Add melted butter, olive oil, garlic salt and pepper; toss to coat. Carefully remove pan from oven and coat with cooking spray or brush with a little olive oil. Place vegetable mixture in a single layer pan; bake until potatoes are just barely tender, about 15-20 minutes.
3. Remove pan from oven; preheat broiler. Move vegetables to one side of sheet pan. Add fish to other side. Sprinkle fillets with tarragon and salt; dot with softened butter. Broil 4-5 in. from heat until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 5 minutes. If desired serve with tartar sauce.
Sweet and Tangy Asian Salmon with Green Beans
• 4 skinned salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger or 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
• 1 clove garlic minced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1- pound fresh green beans, trimmed
• 1-2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
• Preheat oven to 425°. Place fillets in a half sheet baking pan coated with cooking spray. In a small skillet, melt butter; stir in brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard, ginger, garlic, oil, pepper and salt. Brush half of the mixture over salmon.
• Place green beans in a large bowl; drizzle with remaining brown sugar mixture and toss to coat. Arrange green beans around fillets. Roast until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork and green beans are crisp-tender, 14-16 minutes.
• Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil over green beans and toss prior to serving.
During this hectic time of the year it’s important to sit down and enjoy a nice dinner together.