Proteins Roasting in a Red Hot Oven
Tofu, fish, chicken, or pork—for Holiday celebrations and everyday warmth
I hope you haven't put away your electric knife. The weeks between Thanksgiving and January 1st are peak time for roasts. In general, the offerings here are faster than anything you’d do in a slow cooker, but feature the same walk-away ease. You can season the outside simply, do the roasting in advance if you like, and nibble away on the leftovers for the rest of the week.
If big hunks of meat aren't your thing — or in your budget — bear in mind that roasts are ideal for tipping the balance of flora-to-fauna on your plate: They can serve a lot of people. Or skip the meat all together and go for the custardy-on-the-inside, crusty-on-the-outside roasted tofu.
Once your roast is done, whether it’s hot or cold, you have so many options: sandwiches for sure; tacos and burritos; bowls of rice, grains, or beans; frittatas and scrambles; and last-minute additions to vegetable stir-fries, pastas, or salads. Every time a piece of that roast makes an appearance, it's in a different outfit, so it won’t feel boring.
To keep roasts from drying out, put them in an airtight container and chill in the coldest part of the fridge; they’ll keep for days, during which time you can cut off super thin slices or easily cut into sticks or cubes. Or pop leftovers in the freezer for up to a couple months. Just one last suggestion: Consider roasting two at a time a solid investment in the future for 2023.
And now, for the recipes:
Roast Pork with Herb Rub,
Salt-Baked Whole Fish with Aioli,
and Simplest Whole Roast Chicken.
Makes: 4 to 8 servings
Time: About an hour, largely unattended
2 or 3 (or more) blocks firm tofu (14 to 16 ounces each)
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or large skillet with parchment paper. No need to pat the tofu dry, just drain the water away. Rub the tofu all over with salt and put on the parchment paper.
2. Roast, turning a couple times to brown the sides evenly, until it’s golden brown all over and springy when you press on it, about an hour. Cool on a wire rack, then portion or slice as you like and refrigerate or freeze as described in the introduction.
— Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast, Completely Revised and Updated
Roast Pork with Herb Rub
Makes: 6 to 10 servings
Time: 1 ½ to 2 hours, largely unattended
As a bonus, while the roast rests you turn the pan drippings into a quick sauce.