This time of year is so tricky for me. It’s still COLD outside (hello random March nor’easter) but I’m so tired of heavy winter fare. My eye is on summer (and swimsuit season) and I crave lighter, more fresh meals, and above all, new fruits and vegetables. Don’t get me wrong: I love a good root vegetable and I’m into the pears and the apples, etc. But after 4+ long months of eating Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes and carb upon carb, I’m ready for new inspiration.
The problem is, my favorite warm-weather produce isn’t quite ready for me. Nowhere do I feel this more acutely than when buying berries, which have started to crop up at the grocery store for less than $6 a pint but are still sad pale-bellied imitations of their summer selves. While they’re certainly a welcome reminder of things to come, they lack the sweet robust “berry-ness” that I’m looking for.
Enter this genius idea that I stumbled upon while looking for a new oatmeal recipe. Roasting the (in this case) blueberries concentrates their flavors, enhances their sweetness and creates a lovely berry sauce in the process. While the original post used a combination of blueberries and maple syrup, I went with regular sugar, a touch of lemon zest and a mix of blueberries and raspberries.
It’s a little embarrassing to call these roasted berries a “recipe,” since the steps are literally just “mix” and “bake,” but I am so in love with this idea that I couldn’t not share. Everything is so easy to put together that you can pop it in the oven pre-coffee, continue about with your morning routine, and pull them out of the oven, bursting and beautiful, 15 minutes later. As bae said, “you’re really doing the most right now,” but it can be your secret that “the most” is super easy and involves no work.
And your reward is something that literally goes with EVERYTHING. All the breakfast — oatmeal (which is what I did initially), yogurt, pancakes, waffles, French toast — but also ice cream, vanilla pudding or custards, a side for creme brulee, a topping for cheesecake or pound cake or angel food cake or even served in a dessert cup, with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream on the side. If you don’t hear from me for the next few weeks, it’s because I’ll be roasting berries on repeat … send help!
- 2 cups mixed berries (I used blueberries and raspberries, but any mix will do)
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- zest of half a lemon
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Butter a 7-x-11-inch baking pan.
- Toss the berries with the sugar and lemon. (You could be civilized and do this bowl, or be lazy like me and just toss them in the pan itself.)
- Roast for 12-15 minutes, until the berries have released some of their juices. Serve on top of oatmeal, yogurt or ice cream, or top with whipped cream.