If you’re not sure what to do with your seasonal produce, we’re here to help. This recipe comes from Japanese chef Yoshihiro Imai Imai’s new book, monk: Light and Shadow on the Philosopher’s Path, out April 28 from Phaidon Press.
Fresh vegetables gathered at the market the same morning, roasted, and sprinkled with salt: This extremely simple dish is one of monk’s signatures. I choose seven different vegetables each day, which reflect what’s in season at the farms in Ohara. Grill any root vegetables that take more time to cook in advance, and lightly brush all cut surfaces of the vegetables with olive oil. This prevents the vegetables from going dry by sealing in the moisture and keeping the insides juicy. Though a simple dish, the ideal roasting time is different for each vegetable and getting the timing right so that everything finishes cooking at the same time takes a bit of finesse. Try to leave the vegetables as they are during prep: Leave the edamame on the stalk, the corn inside the husk, and so on. I truly believe roasting vegetables in a wood-fired oven is the most delicious possible way to eat them.
2 stalks of edamame
1 ear corn, unhusked
1/2 zucchini (courgette), about 4 3/4 inches (12 cm) long
4 green beans
sea salt flakes
How to Make It
- Use the wood-fired oven at medium heat (535 °F/280 °C) to roast the potatoes while the oven’s preheating for high heat. Place the potatoes in a cast-iron skillet (frying pan), lightly brush with olive oil, cover with foil, and heat for 40 minutes. Use a bamboo skewer to test for doneness. The potatoes should be soft and puncture easily. Let cool.
- Cut the vegetables so they are easy to eat. Break the cooled potato in half.
Roast the Vegetables
- Preheat the wood-fired oven to high heat (840 °F/450 °C). Place a skillet in the oven to preheat.
- Start placing the vegetables in the oven, starting with the ones that require longer cooking time. For the assortment listed here, start with the edamame and corn; place them in the hot skillet and into the oven for 3 minutes.
- Brush the cut surfaces of the potatoes and zucchini with olive oil and add them to the skillet, then return to the oven. Turn and reposition the vegetables as you add new ingredients to make sure everything is equally roasted. After about another 2 minutes, brush the tomatoes with olive oil and add them to the skillet, then return to the oven. Finally, brush the beans and okra with olive oil, add them to the skillet, and return to the oven one more time. Check to see that everything has browned on the surface, then remove the skillet from the oven.
Arrange the vegetables on a large plate that has some depth. Sprinkle with salt.
Reprinted from monk: Light and Shadow on the Philosopher’s Path by Yoshihiro Imai. © 2021 Phaidon Press