Monday, June 8, 2009

roasted carrots with rosemary and almonds

These roasted carrots were the result of some idle menu browsing. Yes, I confess, sometimes I stroop restaurant menus online, juste pour le fun. (The Internet is a dangerous tool.) In this case, the menu in question belonged to Franny’s,** and the dish was “Wood-Roasted Carrots with Chilies and Almonds.”

Of course, I had never tasted these carrots—nor did have a wood-burning oven on hand—but I figured I could approximate the results with my own humble cooking apparatus.

In case you assumed the almonds were just an afterthought, I assure you they’re not. In fact, they further prove my theory that the right nut can elevate any vegetable to new heights. (More on this subject to come, I suspect.) If you don’t feel like carrots, add these almonds to your next salad, and be amazed...

**For the record, the Franny’s menu is particularly good for these purposes; other recent appetizers include “wood-roasted sunchokes with raisins and hazelnuts,” “stuffed zucchini with buffalo milk ricotta and herbs,” and “pea shoots with lemon and pecorino rossellino." I am adding all of these to my list.

Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Almonds:
Carrots adapted from Craft of Cooking, by Tom Colicchio

We pan-roasted these carrots in the interest of time; next time, I'd probably opt for the oven, to enhance the crinkly skin effect.

30 baby carrots (3-4 inches long), peeled and trimmed [or 15 medium carrots, cut down to size]
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 rosemary sprigs
1-2 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the roasted almonds:
¾ cup blanched almonds
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or half a lemon)

Make the almonds: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes, or until they begin to turn light brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and season to taste. Cook, turning the carrots occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Add the butter and rosemary, and continue cooking until the carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

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