NEW YORK (NYTimes) - Once upon a time, way back in the annals of home cooking, there was an era before sheet-pan suppers.
In that dark age, even well-equipped kitchens did not have so much as a single professional sheet pan, let alone the two or three deemed indispensable today.
Sure, there were deep-sided roasting pans, cookie sheets, and narrow, thin-gauge jellyroll pans - all perfect for their designated purposes.
But none has the same functionality and convenience as the humble, heavy-duty, 13-by-18-inch (33-by-46cm) rimmed sheet pan. Not only can you use it to cook an entire meal for four in your oven all at once, it can also help you heat up a dozen bagels simultaneously. It has enough room to cradle your bossam or Thanksgiving turkey, and, in a pinch, it can double as a cookie sheet.
However, as useful as regular sheet pans are, their capaciousness can be unwieldy when you're dealing with just a halved acorn squash or that quartet of trout fillets you're planning for dinner tonight. Even worse, sheet pans can also be too big to fit into the dishwasher, especially if you've used more than one.
And this is why I've made room for yet one more tool in my already overstuffed kitchen cabinets. For home cooks everywhere, it's time to get acquainted with the adorable and versatile quarter-sheet pan.
Measuring approximately 9 by 12 inches (23 by 30cm), it's the helpful little sibling of your standard-size sheet pans.
I can fit four in my oven all at once, which makes them highly flexible when you want to cook several things at the same time. Then I can toss them into the dishwasher, where they scarcely take up more room than my plates.
For example, what if you wanted to cook up a wintry dish of paprika-rubbed chicken legs, potatoes and turnips in the oven all at the same time? If you arranged all those ingredients together on one large pan, you'd be hard pressed to get the timing just right so the vegetables and chicken all come out evenly cooked and gorgeously caramelised.
Separating the chicken and vegetables onto two small pans, however, gives you a lot more control. You can remove each pan from the oven exactly when its contents are perfectly done, without worrying about over- or undercooking.
Here, it means pulling out the chicken and letting it rest while cranking up the oven to crisp the potatoes and turnips. You'll have juicy chicken, crunchy potatoes, and a lot less stress getting them there.
The same logic can be applied to a sheet-pan supper of sausage Parmesan and garlicky broccoli. Using two pans prevents the sausage juices and tomato sauce from seeping all over the broccoli, making it soggy.
Or, in the case of cumin-rubbed pork chops with Brussels sprouts and crispy sage leaves, while the ingredients would all taste great cooked together on one large sheet pan - the rendering pork fat mingling gorgeously with the sprouts and sage - it would automatically make the vegetables unfit for any vegetarians at your table. And keeping the meat away from the vegetables encourages the porky edges to crisp, which is always a good thing in a chop.
If you can find the space to store a few of these quarter-sheet pans (maybe stacked inside your larger sheet pans), buying them isn't at all expensive. They cost less than US$10 (S$13.20) each. I'd suggest starting with two, and if you find yourself reaching for them often, you can always pick up a couple more.
Whether you use big pans or small, once you immerse yourself in the tasty, convenient world of sheet-pan suppers, you won't want to stop.
Roasted Paprika Chicken With Potatoes and Turnips
Yield: 4 servings Total time: 45 minutes, plus marinating
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbs sweet paprika
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp smoked hot Spanish paprika (pimentón)
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
907g bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, separated into drumsticks and thighs
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 340g), peeled and cut into 1.25cm chunks
1 large or 2 medium turnips (about 340g), peeled and cut into 3.8cm chunks
3 Tbs duck fat, melted (or olive oil)
2 to 3 Persian (mini) cucumbers or 1 large cucumber, peeled if desired, thinly sliced crosswise and kept refrigerated Chopped dill or parsley, for serving
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, combine oil, sweet paprika, tomato paste, 1 -1/2 tsp salt, smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp pepper, cumin, lemon zest, and garlic.
2. Place chicken on a quarter-size rimmed sheet pan (or use a regular rimmed sheet pan) and rub the chicken all over with the marinade. Cover and let rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
3. Heat oven to 230 deg C. Toss potatoes, turnips, duck fat, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper together on a quarter-size rimmed sheet pan or a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33cm) pan.
4. Slide both baking pans into the oven. Roast chicken until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Roast vegetables, tossing after 15 minutes. When you remove the chicken from oven, turn up heat to 260 deg C. and continue cooking the vegetables until they are golden brown, another 5 to 10 minutes longer. (Tent chicken with foil and let rest while vegetables finish cooking.)
5. Place the chilled cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and herbs. Serve with chicken and vegetables, garnished with herbs. Pass the cucumbers and sour cream (if using) at the table.
Sausage Parmesan With Garlicky Broccoli
Yield: 4 servings Total time: 45 minutes
For the tomato sauce:
1 -1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 (396g) can diced tomatoes
1 large sprig basil
1/2 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the sausage and broccoli:
1 small bunch broccoli (about 340g), cut into 2.5cm pieces
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
680g hot or sweet Italian sausage, pricked all over with a fork
1/3 cup fresh ricotta
3 cloves garlic - 2 cloves thinly sliced, 1 clove finely grated or minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped basil or parsley, for serving
Italian bread, for serving (optional)
1. Heat oven to 230 deg C. Prepare sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, basil sprig, salt and pepper, and bring to a brisk simmer. Simmer until sauce is very thick and most of the moisture is evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. It should be thicker than the usual marinara sauce. Remove and discard basil sprig.
2. While sauce is cooking, toss broccoli with oil, red pepper flakes and salt on a quarter-size rimmed baking sheet (or use a regular sized rimmed baking sheet), and place in oven.
3. Arrange sausage in a single layer on a quarter-size rimmed baking sheet or in a 9-by-13-inch (23 by 33cm) roasting pan, and roast along with broccoli until golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Flip sausages over so browned sides are on top.
4. When you flip the sausages, remove broccoli from oven and toss with sliced garlic. (Reserve grated garlic for later.) Drizzle broccoli with a little more oil. Return pan to oven and continue to roast broccoli and sausages until sausages are cooked through and broccoli is tender and browned, about 5 minutes longer.
5. Meanwhile, mix ricotta with grated garlic.
6. When broccoli is done, remove from oven and tent with foil to keep warm. Top sausage with tomato sauce and dollops of ricotta, then drizzle with olive oil and grind pepper generously over top. Sprinkle on mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, and the garlic is opaque, 3 to 5 minutes. Or if you prefer you can broil the cheese to melt it, 1 to 3 minutes.
7. Serve sausages, sauce and cheeses with broccoli on the side. Pass crusty bread for sopping up the tomato sauce.
Cumin-Roasted Pork Chops and Brussels Sprouts
Yield: 3 to 4 servings Total time: 45 minutes
1/2 Tbs dark brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt, more as needed
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, more as needed
1/4 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
2 large bone-in pork chops, about 3.8cm thick (about 800g in total)
454g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved through the stem
1/4 cup whole sage leaves
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil Lemon wedges, for serving
1. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, cumin seeds, ground cumin, black pepper, red-pepper flakes and garlic until mixture resembles wet sand.
2. Smear mixture all over pork and let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, refrigerate, covered, up to 24 hours.
3. Heat oven to 230 deg C. In a bowl, toss Brussels sprouts and sage leaves with oil and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Spread out on a quarter-size rimmed baking sheet (or in a 9-by-13-inch or 23-by-33cm baking dish) and place in the oven. Place the pork on a second quarter-size rimmed baking sheet (or use a regular rimmed baking sheet) and place in the oven along with the sprouts.
4. Roast pork and sprouts for 15 minutes. Flip the chops over and give the sprouts a stir, and continue roasting until the pork is cooked through (57 deg C for medium-rare) and the sprouts are browned and tender, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let pork rest 5 minutes before slicing off the bone as you would a steak. Serve together, with lemon wedges.
And to drink ...
To nobody's surprise, sausage parmesan with garlicky broccoli, with its cooked tomato sauce, sausages and cheese, is a natural with red wine, particularly one with lively acidity.
Sangiovese is the obvious choice, especially the less expensive wines of Chianti and Montalcino. Why less expensive? Those are the wines that are least likely to taste oaky, a quality that would clash with this dish. Look for Chianti Rufina, Chianti Classico and Rosso di Montalcino. Other good options include Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Etna Rossos.
If you would prefer a white, look for a fresh, vibrant wine, likewise not influenced by oak. Options include Orvieto from Umbria, verdicchios and perhaps Soaves and Etna Biancos. Want something bubbly? Try a good Lambrusco from Emilia-Romagna.