55+ Living Guide Winter 2018 Winter 2018 55+ issue for Joomag - Page 31

When we roast we anticipate a handsome exterior, like the deep hued crust of a majestic standing rib roast or the crispy edges of herb roasted potatoes. The word roast conjures up images of juicy, well-seared meats, caramelized drippings, crispy nubbins of goodness, with concentrated flavors of gastronomic delight. Serving a roast has long been the most inclusive, magnanimous and welcoming gesture a host can make to friends and family gathered about the table. Roasting simply put, is to cook food, uncovered, by exposure to dry heat especially in an oven. To go one step further, it is to produce a well-done exterior and a perfectly cooked interior. Roasting is to elevate already delicious ingredients by giving them a sumptuous crust and maintaining their own juices and tenderness. It leaves the inherent characteristics of ingredients intact while enhancing those flavors and transforming them into an unbelievable expression. Roasting involves all three methods of heat transfer: radiation, convection and conduction. Heat radiates from the heated oven walls to cook the surface of the food, secondly the air is heated, it then swirls or convects so that the hot dry air inside the closed oven transfers the heat to the food and lastly, the heat then transfers to the interior of the food by means of conduction. The rate at which the food will cook is largely determined by how quickly or slowly the heat transfers through the food itself. The greatest determin- ing factor for how long it takes for anything to cook through is the shape and size of the food being cooked. One must also consider the presence or absence of fat or bones. A fatty food will cook more slowly than a similar sized leaner cut. Bones of varying composition can cause some meats to cook more slowly than others. Roasting can happen quickly, with a blast of heat or slowly, in a gentle oven. The decision of which method to use depends on the food being roasted, the desired outcome and yes, your schedule. Key to Roasting Temperatures High Heat (400° and up or 375° and up with convection.) Best For: the most tender cuts, especially for smaller roasts or those with narrow diameters, which could be a tenderloin, it’s good for small pieces of sea food and most vegetables and fruits. The greatest benefit of high heat roasting is a well-seared exterior with an appealing meaty savor. This is an aggressive approach ideal for quick-cooking smaller cuts of meat, best eaten rare or medium rare, with centers that are juicy pink. This style of roasting requires split second timing so watch the timer. With this method frequent cleaning of the oven will become a must. Moderate Heat (325° to 395° or 300° to 370° convection) Best for: larger cuts, such as whole turkey and pork loin roasts. The best part about moderate-heat roasting is that larger roasts and poultry have time to cook through without overcooking near the sur- face. Meats and poultry at this temperature lose less moisture than they do in a super-hot over. Due to the lower heat required for these foods, you will not get the dramatic browning as in a hotter oven. Low Heat (225° to 300 ° or 200° to 275° convection) Slow roasting is like traditional barbecue. This will require a time commitment from a couple hours for sweet onions to all day for a pork shoulder. With this style of roasting you will not hear the sizzle or smell the sear as in high heat, instead you will roast slow and low to utter tenderness and succulence. When you slow roast meat or poultry it releases its own tenderizing enzymes which further relaxes the meat as it cooks. 31