August 14, 2009
by Gareth Mark
Intrigued by the title, I was browsing through Think Like a Chef byTom Colicchio the other day and came across his recipe for pan-roasted carrots. The sheer simplicity of this dish inspired me to do my own version.
Chef Colicchio calls for 16 peeled and trimmed carrots, salt and pepper, 4 sprigs of rosemary, 1 tablespoon of butter, and 4 teaspoons of honey. Sounds delicious, but I want a little less sweetness, so I use balsamic vinegar, and less of it. I also object to peeling the carrots, because I don't want to lose all the flavor and nutrients in the peel. I also skipped the pepper, but freshly ground white pepper would be a nice addition.
Start with nice carrots, by which I mean carrots that are of about the same size, are straight, and hopefully are fresh from a garden. Wash them, and optionally peel them. Make sure to dry the carrots to avoid splattering.
Preheat a large fry or sauté pan over medium heat with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. When the pan is ready, add the carrots. Every so often over the next twenty minutes or so, turn the carrots so that the whole carrot is roasted.
When the carrots look like they're done, add a spear or two of fresh rosemary. Continue cooking and turning the carrots for another five minutes or so. Then add a tablespoon of butter and drizzle them with balsamic vinegar.
As the butter melts, turn the carrots to coat all the way around with butter and balsamic. Much of the butter will remain in the pan, and the rosemary is really only there to perfume the carrots. The balsamic darkens the caramelization and adds its own sweetness. Remove the carrots from the pan to a serving dish and sprinkle liberally with Fleur de Sel.
These things are so good I eat them as a snack!