Why It Pays To Roast Vegetables On The Floor Of Your Oven

If you've been cooking for a while, you've likely mastered a few basic techniques such as making perfect hard-boiled eggs, draining pasta when it's just al dente, and poaching succulent chicken. And we're willing to bet that among those techniques is roasting vegetables, from eggplants to mushrooms to peppers to squash. Roasting is a particularly delicious way to prepare vegetables, intensifying the flavor of the vegetables as well as bringing out their natural sweetness (via Applegate).

Roast vegetables are typically fairly easy to make, requiring only a hot oven, some cooking fat, and seasonings. But like many basic dishes, there are always ways to improve upon this basic formula, from tossing the veggies with some cornstarch in order to help them crisp up to par-cooking the vegetables in order to get rid of some of their moisture before roasting, which also helps produce a more browned, caramelized result. Another roasted veggie hack that ups their flavor and texture? Roasting them right on the floor of your oven.

The oven floor provides intense, direct heat

Although you may have never given much thought to the racks inside your oven, their positioning actually directly affects your cooking. The middle rack is a great place to bake cookies or roast a Thanksgiving turkey, while the top rack is a great place for broiling proteins or crisping the tops of casseroles (via Maytag). Meanwhile, the bottom rack, generally where the appliance's heating unit is located, is its hottest area, making it ideal for cooking pizzas and baking a pie. But if you really want to take advantage of the strong, direct heat at the bottom of your oven, you can actually place your pan of roasted vegetables right on the oven's floor.

According to Bon Appétit, this "hard roast" is great for sturdy vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and beets that can benefit from what is essentially a direct sear. The vegetables will soften slightly, as well as develop a deeply browned outer crust. To employ it, the outlet suggests preheating your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, cutting your vegetables into even pieces, and tossing them with cooking fat as well as salt and other seasonings. Tip the vegetables onto a rimmed sheet pan, and place it directly on the oven floor. After about 10 minutes, stir the veggies around, then continue to check them every five minutes or so, until they are deeply browned and fragrant. And voilà! You've got yourself some beautifully roasted vegetables.