ROASTED CARROTS

The burnt oranges and shades of the turning trees in the autumn always point me to the colorful root vegetables dotting the stands at the Union Square Greenmarket. Carrots, in particular, are everywhere - in shades of purple, orange, red, and yellow. I never appreciated carrots with their sweet flavor until I started roasting them. Roasting carrots with honey, butter, and vinegar brings out their natural nuttiness and sweetness. Josh McFadden (chef/owner of Ava Gene's in Portland, OR) added this recipe to his latest book, "Six Seasons" and it's my latest obsession. Recipes like this, that require only a few ingredients, are the ones that I keep close at hand and should be in every home cook’s arsenal. With the holidays coming up, I strongly suggest adding a bit of this color to your table. The more variations of color you can find, the better. Fresh thyme to garnish works nice but I like to make a thyme oil to toss over the top. Recipe below.

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs of carrots, trimmed and peeled, and left whole

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons honey (forest honey is great if you can find)

1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

METHOD

Heat oven to 475 F. Place oven rack in the center

Spread the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle over a tablespoon of oil and massage them to evenly coat. Spread them apart so none are touching. Roast carrots until they turn a dark brown and even a bit burnt on edges but not fully fork tender, at least 15-18 minutes. (Don't open the oven). Turn the temp down to 300 F.

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When cool enough, with a knife on a cutting board, cut the carrots on a sharp bias into 1/2 inch thick slices and transfer to a large bowl. Toss in the vinegar, salt, and plenty of pepper and let sit for 5 mins to soak up the vinegar. 

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Spread them out on your baking sheet again, being sure to give them room to roast. Dot them with the bits of butter and drizzle the honey around. Roast about 5-7 more minutes until all the flavors start mingling. The vinegar will start to smell nice and lovely. Scrape the carrots and all the juices into serving bowl. Taste and add more salt if you like. Top with almonds and thyme oil if you like. 

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THYME OIL

This feels like a concentrated pesto, minus nuts-though you can add those too, that you can subtly boost the flavor red meats or roasted veg. Instead of thyme, you can also sub in and out sweeter herbs like marjoram or mint. I sub mint in for thyme and use it to top racks of lamb or lamb burgers, sprinkle roasted cauliflower, or any wintery vegetable based soup. 

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons of fresh picked thyme leaves. Feel free to cut with parsley too

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 clove garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil

Splash of white wine or red wine vinegar

METHOD

In a food processor or pestle and mortar, add your thyme, a few pinches of salt/pepper, and garlic and blitz or pound until it starts to break down into a paste. Add your olive oil, vinegar, and adjust taste to your liking. 

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RECIPESAlicia & NickComment