Nothing transforms simple root vegetables like a bit of oil and a 450-degree oven. Add a sprinkling of anise or fennel seed, salt and pepper, and watch the caramelizing heat transform potatoes and carrots.
We like potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes, with the occasional fennel bulb or whole peeled shallots. They make a hearty vegetable dish, with relatively little effort. A nonstick baking dish really makes this a breeze.
Just remember that different vegetables have different cooking times. Potatoes take the longest, 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how crusty you like them. Carrots take about 30 minutes, and sweet potatoes even less, about 25 minutes.
Peel and cut your vegetables into chunks. They will shrink, especially carrots, so nothing should be less than one-half inch thick.
Toss the potatoes with olive oil, a teaspoon of anise or fennel seed, salt and pepper, and granulated garlic if you wish. Slide into a 450 degree oven, preferably in a non-stick baking pan.
Turn the potatoes evey 10 minutes or so, as they lose water and start to get sticky. After 20 minutes, add the carrots. After 30 minutes, the sweet potatoes. Don’t crowd the pan, and keep everything to one layer. Browning will only occur when vegetable touches metal.
Keep turning the vegetables every 10 minutes until desired doneness, 50 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes. With a dressed green salad or a nice chop, it’s a lovely meal.