Molly Shuster: One pan roast queen

What do roast dinners mean to you? Is there are an optimal time for cooking?
A roast dinner means dinner made easy. Whether quick or slow cooking, they require minimal effort and minimal equipment. Just be sure to select recipes according to your timeframe. Quick cooking recipes are ideal for weeknights, but save the slow-cooking recipes for the weekend.

The beauty of One Pan Roasts is using minimal equipment. What do you consider each cook should have for your recipes?   
Very little is required beyond the basic pan flagged in each recipe. I would say, however, every cook needs a good sharp knife for chopping and prep work.

You have a 10-point plan for creating a one-pan meal, such as cooking technique, liquid, aromatics and five-a-day vegetables. What aspects are most important?
Choosing your technique is the determining factor when considering what proteins, vegetables and accompaniments will be best suited for your roast.

If you could cook only one dish from your book, what would it be and why?
Moroccan Chicken. So simple and delicious. This is my favourite type of one-pan dish – minimal effort and time, but a big payoff. This meal is healthful, warming and full of flavour.

I love the recipes for sauces, such as garlic aioli and chimichurri. When should sauces be used?
Sauces should be used for dishes that could use a little fresh boost or simply added texture and flavour. The Roasted Salmon & Baby Potatoes would be a perfect meal to pair with a bright and spicy chimichurri, or a warm and hearty mustard sauce. 

Ditto for side dishes, such as couscous, wild rice pilaf, mashed potatoes and warm quinoa salad. Are side dishes universally complementary or do you have suggestions about what goes with what? 
Pick a side dish that has flavours and textures that complement your main dish. For something rich and savoury like Wine-Braised Oxtail, try something like Creamy Polenta or Classic Risotto. For lighter dishes like Prosciutto-Wrapped Monkfish, try the Cauliflower Puree or Warm Quinoa Salad. Moroccan Chicken would pair nicely with sweet and savoury Middle Eastern Couscous.

It’s terrific you use before-and-after shots of dishes. Do people fear the process of roasting?
Roasting is one of the easiest cooking methods available to home cooks. I think people fear over or under cooking their proteins. Once you get a sense for temperature and timing, most people will be able to master roasting in no time.

What is the biggest mistake people make when cooking a roast?
Overcrowding the pan. Breathing room is essential for ingredients to roast properly. You want a nice crispy, golden sear. If items are too close together in the pan, they’ll steam instead of roast. Also, be sure your oven temperature is accurate. Buy an oven thermometer and test your oven temperature. If it runs high or low, you’ll want to adjust the temperature accordingly.

Any washing-up tips?
Use a natural soap without harsh additives or colouring, a good sponge and hot water.

What are five staple ingredients always in your pantry?
Lemons, Maldon salt, Dijon mustard, anchovies and dried beans.

What is one kitchen appliance or utensil you could not live without?
A good sharp knife and a pepper mill. I couldn’t do without either.

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