Ode to Sheet-pan Suppers, April 19, 2020

I have a profound love and respect for our native tongue: English. My husband possesses an equal depth of love for mangling said language to get my goat. So when we introduced our daughter and her fiance this week to the vast flexibility of the Sheet-pan Supper, David immediately advised me that we had a wealth of “snausages” in the freezer to use for the protein component. That’s right, Spell-Check, have at it. The letter “N” is not a typo.

A few days after our family arrived, we made our weekly venture out for some fresh foods and learned that Ella’s Market was still open. After scoring some lovely vegetables, I happily observed the glass and acrylic barrier across the sales counter. The owner reported business has been great. Yay for everyone buying local and practicing safety measures.

As I demonstrated variations on the theme of assembling suppers on a sheet pan, I recommended some useful strategies for constant cooking in your own space during a pandemic. Keep a flavor-infused oil on hand. I make garlic oil and cook it just until the minced or grated garlic starts to simmer in the oil, but take it off-heat before it browns. If your kitchen is air-conditioned, you can keep the oil in a jar or covered at room temperature. Otherwise, you might want to keep it in the fridge, but I promise you, you will use it up so quickly that it will probably not be necessary. Drizzle over your meats, toss it with your vegetables, brush it on bread before you toast it, slather it over that pizza dough before you sauce it (don’t forget to add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to that pizza topping!). You will never meet an uneaten pizza crust again. I promise. Feel free to add an herb to the flavor base of the oil, or crushed red pepper. I add the additional seasoning to the individual food item. So, while the Hasselback sausage (if you don’t know that technique, wait for the pictures to follow. Be sure to click on them for a better view.) received a light brushing of the garlic oil alone, the carrots and cauliflower earned some thyme (sorry), and chopped fresh rosemary anointed the apples, onions, and Brussel sprouts.

Note: We planned our meal to feed six people and provide plenty of leftovers. Therefore, we prepared three sheet pans. And, always eager for new ideas, our daughter introduced us to roasted kale. Okay, you may be over kale. And you may not think much of kale chips (I don’t), but partially roasted, with edges just beginning to crisp, and seasoned with Aleppo pepper and sea salt—a revelation! And no, I am not asking you to massage the kale for three minutes first to tenderize it.

Accept the Sheet Pan Supper Challenge if you haven’t already done so. Dive into your refrigerator or pantry and innovate. A little acid at the end never hurts: we added a slight citrus tinge to the apples and sprouts, and some excellent sauvignon blanc vinegar to the carrots and cauliflower after they left the oven. Toast that stale bread with a little garlic oil and a hit of shaved parmesan. Happiness awaits.

I think of supper on a sheet pan as the Stone Soup meal plan for sheltering in place. Feel free to share yours here!

2 thoughts on “Ode to Sheet-pan Suppers, April 19, 2020

  1. We have quite a bit of sausage in the freezer, as Ron is a member of a group called “The Sausage Kings”, who make sausage every two months or so. I love the idea of Hasselback sausage. Sheet pan meals are not in our repertoire, so thank you for what is, to us, a new idea!

    • You will love the sausage roasted in this way. The edges get a lovely, chewy crust, and the sausage juices enhance the flavors of whatever you add to the pan. Don’t hesitate to vary ingredients that have different cooking times. We just start with what takes the longest, then add the next item, and so on. We cooked sweet potato fries first and had them as an appetizer with a maple/mustard sauce while we waited for everything else to cook.

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