Why are a restaurant's vegetables so much better than homemade ones?
so the reason why a
restaurant's vegetable dishes typically end up way
oneswe make at home is pretty simple it's just due to a difference in cooking philosophy okay they also just use a lot of fat no real way around that one so in today's video i'll first cover the difference between these two philosophies then i've got seven tips and five experiments that we're gonna go through so we can all learn how to make
vegetablesat home let's break it down when a
restaurantis making a vegetable dish their mission is typically how do i make this taste as good as possible so first they're probably going to start with the highest quality vegetable they can find secondly they have their roasting technique dialed in from start to finish and here's the kicker whether it's butter olive oil or lard they're probably using way more fat than you would ever dream of using at home for example i've absolutely loved the deep fried brussels sprouts that i've had at
restaurants but i've never thought about making these at home so if you're like me when most of us are making a vegetable dish at home our mission is typically hey i'm trying to eat healthy so let's make some
vegetablesthis may mean any vegetable that i happen to have on hand is
betterthan no vegetable at all the technique becomes whatever gets this on my table as fast as possible and thirdly just a drop or two of oil should be plenty...
right so now that we understand the difference between these two philosophies we're going to run through these seven tips which kind of help bridge the gap between them and i think you'll find the experiments pretty interesting as well because i'll kind of show you that you don't have to use like half a bottle of oil just to make your
vegetablestaste good tip number one salt is the seasoning not herbs or spices a lot of people tend to think that adding a bunch of spices or herbs is what's going to make
vegetablestaste good but unless there is salt in some form along with that spice mix it's not going to and here's a quick experiment you can run take two batches of potatoes or whatever
vegetablesyou want to one add salt and an identical amount of oil and then to the other add no salt but whatever spices you want i toss in a bunch of cumin cayenne pepper and turmeric now i'll be the first one to admit that the one with the spices definitely look more enticing but they're actually nearly tasteless because they don't have any salt whereas the
onesthat are just plain oil and salt i could literally snack on these things all day now this is not to say you shouldn't bother using herbs or spices in fact quite the opposite add all you want what i'm saying with this tip is you need to appreciate the power of salt as noted in salt fat acid heat saminosurat explains that salt is the most powerful flavor enhancer and modifier for example...
salt can reduce the perception of bitterness and enhance sweetness there's a reason why we add a sprinkle of salt to a chocolate chip cookie now our goal with roasted
vegetablesis to salt them to enhance their existing flavors and when eating a properly seasoned roasted vegetable you should think these were salted not these taste salty so anytime you cook anything you should be asking yourself these two questions first how am i going to salt this and secondly when am i going to solve this because both answers are going to have a massive effect on our final dish so when it comes to how to add salt to the
vegetablesmost commonly this will just be a big sprinkle of salt but you can consider using things like soy or fish sauce msg or any sauce or spice mix that has some salt content in it to answer the question of when am i going to add salt for most cooks it's typically just going to be right before but if you do have the time toss your
vegetableswith salt a couple of hours before roasting or boiling them in salty water is going to help the salt internally season the
vegetableswhich is really nice now the big mistake here would not be using any salt at all so you can always add it at the end if you have forgotten or undersalted somewhere earlier in the process so just choose the method and timing that works best for your kitchen but now let's talk fats tip number two use fats thoughtfully so before we get to some tips on how to make great roasted veggies without...
feeling like you need to deep fry them we need to understand the two primary roles that fat plays when it comes to roasted
vegetablesso first it's a heat distributor and second it's a flavor distributor as well time for another quick experiment to explain separate out some halved brussels sprouts to a bowl along with a big pinch of salt and i'm also going to add equal parts of fresh minced rosemary and grated garlic as well now to one of these bowls i'm going to add 15 grams or about a tablespoon of olive oil and the other bowl is going to get nothing before i place them on the pan and get them roasting in the oven the brussels sprouts without oil are just going to be cooked through the air in the oven but the
oneswith the oil that oil is actually going to heat up first and then distribute that heat to the brussels sprout and as kenji lopez alt notes in the food lab oil is not only a
betterheat distribution medium than naked air but it also fills in the microscopic nooks and crannies that are left behind by the evaporating moisture so it's going to keep those roasted
vegetablesfrom turning shriveled and leathery so once these come out of the oven you can just see all that even browning and crispy edges that we got from the oil but just as important if not more important is the role that fat plays as a flavor distributor because these
oneswith the oil taste miles
betterthan those without again as sameen points out in salt fat acid heat fat coats the...
tongue allowing various aromatic compounds to stay in contact with our taste buds for longer periods of time this intensifies and prolongs our experience of these various flavors and you can really tell because the garlic and rosemary come through so
muchmore in the brussels sprouts that had the oil on them so now that we understand how fats work you can see why
restaurants are going to add a fair bit of them to make the dishes taste good but good news for us is you don't actually have to use as
muchas you think to get a dish that i would say is at least 80 if not 90 percent as good for me i'll typically measure out my oil i find even 15 to 30 grams or one or two tablespoons is plenty for a large sheet pan surely they're not going to be quite as good as the
onesdoused in that oil but remember we're home cooks we have different approaches another thing you could do is add some flavored oil after they come out which is going to give you those intense flavors right at the end okay so i think we have salt and our fat covered definitely took a little bit more explaining but they are super important when it comes to roasted
vegetableshowever the remaining five tips i have also can have a very big impact on how those
vegetablesare gonna come out of the oven tip number three embrace high heat and convection so what makes roasted
vegetablestruly great are those browning crispy bits you get all over that introduce those new roasty flavors now for
brown and crispy we really need to dehydrate them and to do this you need to embrace the high heat now it depends a bit on what you are roasting but my standard roasting temperature is around 450 to 475 degrees fahrenheit with convection and then i'll often turn on the broiler to crisp them at the end usually 30 to 45 minutes at these temperatures is ideal for a lot of
vegetablesnow another tactic that you can use is to add oil to the pan and preheat it with the oven then you can prep those
vegetablesand toss them onto a hot pan where they will start browning
muchfaster and this browning of the
vegetablesis caused by the mayor reaction which really starts happening at temperatures above 350 degrees fahrenheit on the exterior of the
vegetablesnow for the second part of this tip if your oven has a convection setting or you have an air fryer definitely use it that hot air circulates around the
vegetablesmaking them crisp more efficiently there is a reason why air fryers have become so popular they make killer roasted
vegetablestip number four give the
vegetablesspace and time many potentially great roasted
vegetablesjust end up as steamed
onesbecause either too many were crammed into the pan or they didn't have enough time to adequately brown and crisp and here's another experiment i've got two batches of identically salted and oiled sweet potatoes and on one side i squish them all together and then on the other side i spread them out evenly and toss...
them into the oven to roast and after just 15 minutes we can clearly see the difference between the two pans the side that was spread out is already completely cooked through and is crispy on the edges while the other one is really just steamed sweet potatoes now i understand that you can't make as many if you have to space them out on one pan this is why you've got to get two pans and then just rotate them halfway through the cooking cycle i promise washing this extra pan will be worth the effort now if you want to cram all the
vegetableson there you can but don't pull them off early leave them in the oven for longer and especially if you're having trouble with
vegetablessticking just let them go assuming the temperature is high enough and enough time has passed they should lift right off tip number five try parboiling so this is a technique that i primarily use with root
vegetableslike carrots sweet or regular potatoes and the process is simple just fill a pot with water and add two large pinches of salt before bringing that to a boil once boiling toss in the
vegetablesand cook for roughly six to eight minutes before straining those off and tossing them onto a sheet tray and adding oil or whatever seasonings you want to then toss that in the oven and broil for about 10 to 15 minutes now the main advantages of this technique are overall faster cooking time yes there is going to be more hands down time but since we can use the broiler to crisp them up...
knowing the inside is already cooked we don't have to wait like 30 or 45 minutes for those carrots to be ready and then secondly depending on the vegetable this can actually yield a
betterresult as kenji lopez all points out in his book boiled up potatoes actually yield a
betterand crispier and brownie one now another big benefit of parboiling your
vegetablesis that you can actually store them and cook them straight from frozen which brings me to tip number six frozen
vegetablesare your friend now some
restaurants might be picking the finest
vegetablesfrom the morning's farmer's market but at home well if you have access 100 go for it don't be afraid of any
vegetablesthat you happen to have lying around and this does include frozen
vegetableshere's a killer recipe that i made with this bag of frozen broccoli all i did was toss the broccoli into a bowl with some salt olive oil and black pepper before mixing that together now i preheated the pan with oil in the oven then tossed on the five garlic cloves and that broccoli before roasting everything in the oven since it's frozen those ice crystals in the broccoli can actually steam up faster and it still has to go through that same basic dehydration process now this is after about 15 minutes and though we're starting to get some color remember tip number four give them more time so after 35 minutes i'm liking this balance of darkened and crispy bits but you could let them go even further...
toss that broccoli into a bowl and a serve add a little grating of cheese and these were quite addictive and also this cheese leads to our seventh and final tip add flavor enhancers acid or sauces after roasting now if your