Carrots seldom have center stage. Too often they wind up sharing the spotlight with other vegetables in soups, stews and salads. Famed Chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has corrected that with his Roasted Carrots. The long, oven temperature brings out the sweetness in the vegetable and gives it a taste much like sweet potato fries.
Keep Calm and Carrot On
I served these carrots for Easter and it was the first side dish to disappear. The addition of harissa and cream fraîche gave the vegetable a gourmet touch. (Harissa is often called the ketchup of North Africa and the Middle East. You can find it in a jar or tube at Amazon, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and World Market.)
Or you can make your own harissa with a blend of red chilis, roasted peppers, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and lemon juice. But it’s much easier to track down harissa, than it is to assemble all the ingredients. Sriracha is a terrific substitute and you’re more likely to have the rooster sauce on hand.
This is a special occasion dish. But you might want to try it out on the family first and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Keep in mind, that the carrots will shrink a bit, so cut and roast accordingly.
Fun with Potatoes
Mashed or Smashed
Another dish that made it to the Easter table this year was Smashed Potatoes. Not mashed, but smashed. You simply boil small, red or Yukon potatoes until soft and smash them flat with the bottom of a water glass before roasting. I have a few old drinking glasses with a pattern on the bottom, that create an interesting design. But any glass will do.