Harvest = Roasted Fruit and Vegetable Platter. Do you get excited strolling through the outdoor farmers' market during Autumn? Almost overwhelmed by the range of intense sunset colors on display? Crates of burnt orange colored-pumpkins, plump yellow Bartlett pears overlaid with rosy blush or Bosc pears burnished with coppery flecks, the snappy apple green of crisp apples, creamy white squash so delicate and pure, or the shiny, leathery jewel box with pomegranate rubies inside….don't you want to just buy it all? Well, do it. Then roast it. Then invite your friends over for a feast.
Celebrate the harvest season in all of its vibrancy with your own version of Roasted Fruit and Vegetable Platter. Select a variety of hard squash such as acorn, calabaza, carnival, kabocha, or striped sweet dumpling. (Yes, you can have it all.) For pumpkins choose small ones, such as the appealing creamy white lumina with same-colored flesh, or bright orange baby bear, baby pam, or sugar pumpkins. Expanding the colors, shapes, textures, and flavors makes the platter so inviting. Make slices, cut wedges, leave the skin on, and for some squashes, leave the seeds attached for visual appeal. Let it flourish in all of its natural beauty.
This dish shines in its variety of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, giving the cook great flexibility and no worries about finding a particular ingredient. Make in advance. Serve warm or room temperature, as a roasted salad or side dish. Serve as accompaniment to roasts, grills, sauteed scallopine. If your friends bring over assorted flat breads, cheese, and wine, you've got a great party! Enjoy trying a new variety of fruit, squash, or pumpkin, this is fun-eating.
Roasting time varies according to ingredient and size. Guidelines for roasting at 350 F/175 C/Gas Mark 4: 30 minutes for 1/2-inch (1.27-cm) thick slices of hard squash: 45 to 60 minutes for wedges of small hard squash or pumpkins; up to 2 hours for large 2-inch (5-cm) thick slices of hard squash or pumpkin. Roast for 25 minutes for apple slices or thin wedges, and pear halves.
Hard squash and pumpkins
Sunflower, grapeseed, or other mild oil for roasting pan
Firm pears, Asian pears
Spiced pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts
Fresh pomegranate wedges
Oils (Extra-virgin olive oil, Hazelnut, Walnut)
Salt (Himalayan, Sea salt, Kosher salt)
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C/Gas Mark 4. For easy roasting and removal, arrange the squashes and pumpkins by size on baking sheets or in roasting pans, i.e. thin slices together, wedges together, etc. Do the same for the apples and pears. Once thoroughly cooked but barely fork tender, remove them from the oven. (Roasted fruit and vegetables continue to cook for a few minutes once removed from the oven.)
Arrange the roasted fruit and vegetables on a large serving platter. Garnish with nuts. Break open your pomegranate jewel box, and adorn all with glistening wedges of rubies. If you wish, lightly drizzle oil over and season with salt to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.