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Consider serving this simple, rich and bright vegetable dish alongside your holiday fare.
Carrots are here to stay for the season, firmly rooted in the refrigerator drawers with their best friends: potatoes, turnips, parsnips, kohlrabi, beets, celeriac, watermelon radishes and other bulbous shapes that plump up in the dark, loamy depths of the soil while we’re feasting on above-ground greens and fruits. Root vegetables always seem to befuddle the home cook, in particular for those of us who subscribe to winter farm shares, only to discover that the portion of roots in our weekly boxes are relentless. Of course, the easiest thing to do with a medley of root vegetables is to cut them into uniform pieces, toss them with butter or olive oil, herbs and sea salt in a roasting pan (add whole garlic cloves in their peels) and caramelize them at 400 degrees for at least thirty minutes, or until fork tender. Though foolproof, this too can grow weary.
I first learned how to properly “glaze” carrots from Alice Water’s book The Art of Simple Food. This book is for anyone eager to learn the basics of cooking by having a kind, inspiring and masterful chef tell you exactly what you need in your kitchen and what basic recipes you must know to build an entire repertoire of your own. It is brilliant, beautiful and delicious at once.
Glazing carrots is simply simmering them in a combination of butter and water, with your choice of fresh herbs and seasoning. The carrots end up tender and rich, awakened by a light, buttery coating. I add fresh mint and preserved lemon to brighten this dish still more. Since coriander and lemon make the happiest couple, a generous sprinkling of toasted, crushed coriander seeds would have been a fine addition. Next time!
Recipe for Lemon-Garlic Roasted Chicken.
Preserved lemons are easy to make and one of my absolute favorite ways to power the pantry. Try this quick and snappy recipe for keeping them in stock. While the flavor won't be quite as bold, you can easily substitute with lemon zest or lemon juice (see below).
Storing fresh mint: If your mint still has the stems attached (from the garden or farm), store it next to a south-facing window in a glass of water. Otherwise, store the leaves in the refrigerator in a closed container with a moist paper towel.
- 1 pound carrots (about 6-8 medium carrots)
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (sub with ghee)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 preserved lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
- Prepare the carrots by cutting them into 3-inch long x 1/4-inch thick matchsticks.
- Prepare the preserved lemon by removing the pith (inside flesh) and rinsing the rind thoroughly to remove the salt. Mince the rind. Substitute with 1 tablespoon lemon zest or 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Add the carrots, water and salt to a large saute pan. The water should come halfway up the carrots - adjust if you need more water.
- Add the butter and preserved lemon to the pan and bring the water to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Toss to stir in the melted butter.
- Reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook the carrots uncovered to let the liquid boil down into a buttery sauce.
- Remove from the heat when the sauce is reduced to a shiny coating on the carrots and the carrots are fork-tender. (If the liquid reduces to much and the butter and water separate, add a splash of water to bring it back together).
- Toss the carrots with the fresh mint before serving.