Wire Racks Can Save You From Soggy Veggies

When it comes to making a side dish, there is nothing more convenient than roasting some vegetables in the oven. Tossed with seasonings and oil and roasted on high heat, they're a flavorful and healthy side that pairs well with just about any main course. It is also a fantastic way to use up any bits of vegetables you might have in your pantry and fridge, creating a roasted vegetable medley, a delicious way to prevent food waste.

However, while you can roast almost every single kind of vegetable outside of the lettuce, some watery ones — such as summer squash and zucchini – can come out soggy, because their high water content leaves the roasting pan with excess water. This extra water leaves roasted vegetables wet and limp, hardly the crisp and savory results you are looking for. However, with a simple wire rack, you can lift the roasting vegetables away from the excess moisture, leaving your roasted veggies perfectly crispy — every single time.

Roasting watery vegetables

To help water-heavy vegetables, think eggplant and squash, reach their full flavor potential by roasting, you will need a flat wire rack alongside the sheet pan. Cut the vegetables into the shape you want, then remove some of their moisture by salting them and letting the mix stand for several minutes, during which time the salt will draw out some of the vegetables' interior moisture. Rinse the vegetables to wash away the excess salt, and then pat them dry with paper towels. Mix them with a combination of olive oil, salt, ground pepper, and other seasonings you prefer, such as everything bagel seasoning, garlic and lemon, or curry powder.

Arrange the vegetables on the wire rack placed on top of the sheet pan. Leave enough room between pieces, so the heat from the oven can circulate effectively. Roast on high heat until the veggies are cooked through. Serve your crispy vegetable goodness hot alongside your main course.

Using a wire rack for better cooking

The wire rack can be useful for other kinds of oven cooking aside from roasting vegetables. For example, frying food on the stove is a messy and sometimes hazardous task, especially when it comes to items that tend to splatter — like breaded chicken. However, when you try to make them on a sheet pan in an oven, the bottom side often comes out limp and soggy due to trapped moisture underneath the chicken. By adding a wire rack between the chicken and the pan, hot dry air can circulate on the underside of the breaded meat, giving you an all-around crunchy oven-fried chicken that is ready to become chicken parmesan — or to eat as-is.

A wire rack is also useful outside the oven as well, especially for cooling baked goods. By elevating the cookies, cakes, or bread that just came out of the oven on a wire rack, air circulating underneath will cool the underside, removing any moisture that would have been trapped on the bottom. Plus, removing them from the oven-hot pan right away prevents burned bottoms. It also speeds up the cooling process and saves you time.