I posted this just five years ago. I wrote then about having had a cold summer, so that it took until September to get really sweet carrots. Well, it’s been cool again. Normally in New York, August is sweltering. Temperatures in the 90s or about 100. This year, temps have been in the 70s many days. So, the carrots now are as good as they are going to get. This recipe, with its long list of ingredients, will give you a carrot experience you have not had before. It’s beautiful. It’s spicy. And it’s time for it now.
It has been a cold summer, record cold. So it took time for the sun to bake sweetness into the carrots. Finally, finally Suzen and I have found “sweet ones” at our local farmers market. Actually, with this recipe, carrots of any age or sweetness will be just dandy. There is citrus and spice aplenty here to boost the basic carrot flavor.
Roasted carrots have a definitive flavor. Not exactly caramelized into pure sugar, the carrots do display both a sweetness and that hearty flavor that only high heat can produce. The citrus and spice provide new ingredient layers generating an awesome array of interacting flavors. You mouth might be confused, but your brain will be warmly pleased.
This is a very good kid’s recipe. Carrots are one of the few veggies they don’t automatically shun. Here you can put kids to work in the kitchen playing with all these spices and citrus elements. Your kids can mix and match a bit, use their imagination, and then see some dramatically wonderful results. “I made this,” they are sure to say, with a smile.
Roasted Orange Spiced Carrots
Yield: serves 8
- 4 bunches baby carrots, scrubbed or peeled
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon dill seeds
- 1 teaspoon black pepper corns
- 2 bay leaves, broken into pieces
- 1 star anise
- 1 small dried red chili, or more to taste
- ¼ cinnamon stick
- 4 large shallots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, washed and sliced into wafers
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste, sambal, or sriracha adding more to taste
- Juice and zest of 2 oranges
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 scallions finely sliced
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Trim carrots and cut any thicker carrots lengthwise so they are all about the same thickness. Toss with half the olive oil and salt to taste. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and slightly charred around the edges.
While the carrots are roasting, toast the cumin, caraway, dill, peppercorns, bay leaves, star anise, chili, and cinnamon in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Don’t let the spices burn. Grind it all in a spice grinder until finely ground.
Heat the remaining oil over medium high heat in a skillet large enough to hold the carrots. Add the shallots and celery, and cook until they are just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and half the spice mixture (reserving the rest for another use) and cook for about a minute. Pour in the juices and let cook until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning. If the sauce gets too thick add some water.
Add the carrots to the sauce. Sprinkle over the zests and scallions and toss gently to coat. Taste again and adjust seasoning.
Source: Chef David Domedion at Cooking by the Book
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for1/50th second at ISO‑640