The Sheet Pan, A Superhero Story

There’s a new cookbook out today called Hot Sheet, by Olga Massov and Sanaë Lemoine, which is an ode in recipe form to all the ways the humble sheet pan makes a home cook’s life easier, from starters and snacks, through dinnertime and dessert. Good lord, everything looks so delicious and — here’s what shocked me for a sheet pan cookbook — elegant. The recipes, shot by one of my favorite photographers, Johnny Miller, are inspired: Crispy Ramen with Cabbage and Bacon (shown above, which you can make with mushrooms instead of bacon), Roasted Greek-ish Salad with Halloumi, Savory Bread Pudding with Leeks and Pancetta, Vietnamese Pork Chops with Snow Peas…

Blackberry-Lemon Clafoutis (this is definitely up next: Did you know how easy Clafoutis was?)

…Roasted Dates with Blue Cheese and Hot Honey. There’s very little here that you wouldn’t serve to someone you were trying to impress…

…even if that someone was a little kid. How good does this All-The-Crispy-Bits Mac and Cheese look?

I was also pleased to see that their favorite brand of sheet pan is the one I’ve used forever. In general, they recommend thick, heavy-gauge (13- to 18-gauge) metal, either stainless steel or aluminum. Nothing coated or nonstick. Also excellent: the authors make a point to showcase recipes on baking sheets that have developed actual patina — I maintain that you can always tell a good cook by how filthy their half-sheets are.

Crispy Ramen with Cabbage and Bacon
Excerpted with permission from Hot Sheet: Sweet and Savory Sheet Pan Recipes for Every Day and Celebrations

From Sanaë: This is one of my favorite recipes in the book. It’s an ode to all the crispy noodles my mother made for me throughout my childhood. She always prepared hers with lots of scallions and ginger and seasoned them with soy sauce. I’d sneak back into the kitchen and scrape the pan for the crunchiest remains, while she’d chastise me for wanting to eat the “burnt” parts. I’ve expanded on my memory of her recipe, adding bacon and cabbage, and of course achieving crispiness on a sheet pan. The sheet pan does double duty, first softening the cabbage and rendering the bacon pieces, and then crisping up a large portion of noodles. You’ll have to boil them on the stove first, but since they’re fresh, it will only take a few minutes. The sprinkle of furikake at the end is optional, but it’s become my preferred way of serving this dish. The inspiration came from my friend Fernanda, who ate most of the leftovers as I was developing recipes. One day, she was eating the fourth iteration of these noodles and had the brilliant idea to season them with furikake.

FOR VEGETARIAN CRISPY NOODLES, replace the bacon with 7 ounces fresh shiitake and/or maitake mushrooms, quartered or torn into bite-size pieces, and add an additional 1 tablespoon sesame oil to the sauce.

SERVES 4 TO 6

1 1/4 pounds green cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces (1/2 head)
6 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot (4 oz), thinly sliced on the bias
4 slices bacon (3 oz), cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
20 ounces fresh ramen noodles, such as Sun Noodle Kaedama
Furikake (optional), for serving

Position two racks in the middle and lower third of the oven and pre-heat to 425°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

On a half-sheet pan, toss together the cabbage, scallions, carrot, bacon, ginger, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Roast on the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cabbage starts to soften and brown.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.

Add the ramen noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. (This helps keep the noodles separate.)

Remove the hot sheet from the oven and add the noodles and sauce. Toss everything to coat well; I find it easiest to use chopsticks or tongs. Spread in an even layer, pushing some of the noodles to the edges (they’ll get very crispy there).

Roast on the lower rack for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the noodles are browned and crispy at the edges. Using a metal spatula, turn and toss the noodles to reveal the crispy pieces. (For even crispier noodles, re-spread in an even layer and roast for 5 minutes more.)

Sprinkle with the furikake, if desired, and serve immediately.

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2 Comments

Lisa

Great article, thank you. Just wondering – I love doing sheet pan dinners but is it OK to cook on aluminum? I thought it was unhealthy. I use parchment but you give up the crunchy which is the best part! And you should see my sheet pans – they look like cast iron from all their years of service.

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