Eh….What’s up Doc? Carrots have a bad rap I think. At one point they were a more versatile vegetable. I blame those giant bags of “not really baby carrots” which are in actuality just very small. Those little carrots are a snack for kids, included in every raw vegetable plate ever served, and are the go-to carrot for a good many people. While they’re great for a snack on the go you should ignore them when making dinner.
I’m not being a carrot snob, nor a food snob. I eat those baby carrots off raw vegetable plates like it was my job. Tasty. But when I’m making dinner, carrots rarely enter my mind as a side vegetable. Sure you can make glazed carrots. A little brown sugar and some orange juice and you’ve got yourself a fine side dish. But to be honest when I think side dish and carrots, that’s about the extent of what I can come up with. That’s sad.
I went to the farmer’s market Sunday and I grabbed a bunch of baby carrots. Not baby carrots like those little ones in the bag. They aren’t really baby carrots. Just small. Baby carrots are just that. Real adult sized carrots that haven’t gotten to Bugs Bunny chewing sized Gigantor carrots. So they’re more tender and they lend themselves to easier and quicker cooking. Huge carrots are great for soup. Or if you’re going to dice them up. I’m doing neither. These baby carrots I grabbed were the multicolored variety. Not just orange. How about orange, purple, and yellow? Hardly something available only at farmers market, I see these little bundles of carrot diversity at my local Safeway and Fred Meyer. So no excuses.
Carrots start to lose moisture and taste when you cut their greens off the top. So buy them with greens attached if at all possible. Mine had big springy greens attached and that’s a great way of telling if they’re fresh. If they’re all wilty and nasty, the carrots aren’t too far behind. Fresh and healthy looking greens ensure you’re getting carrots of the same quality.
This recipe couldn’t be any easier really. I cut most of the greens off, leaving maybe an inch left sprouting from the top. I generally cut the really rooty looking terminations from the pointy bit of the carrots as well. I’m not sure that’s at all necessary but it does make them more presentable.
Get out a baking sheet that has a lip all the way around. You can use a roasting pan as well. Line your sheet or pan with some aluminum foil. Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary with some olive oil. I will generally cut a medium-sized onion into wedges and toss those in the oil with the carrots. I used a shallot last time I made it and that was a mistake. Perhaps I sliced it too thin. They ended up mostly as carbon around the edges. Carbon is great for diamonds, not so much for dinner. So slice larger chunks and you should be fine. Toss everything in the oil and place on your baking sheet.
Into a 400 degree F preheated oven for around 40 minutes. Use the middle or lower rack for best results. I didn’t have a ton of carrots on my pan this time but 40 minutes was just about right. I’ve doubled the recipe and 40 minutes worked great then too, even with the carrots crowded together. I didn’t flip them, rotate them, or even look at them until about 35 minutes in.
They come out nicely roasted, soft but not mushy, and delicate tasting. This is what a carrot should be. Delicious. As I said previously, onions cut into decent sized wedges work great arranged around the outside of the pan. Shallots cut fairly thin do not. They turn black. For the record carbon is not particularly tasty.
Do yourself a favor and bring the carrot out of the school lunchbox and off the raw veggie plate. Take 5 minutes and put this dish together and make some carrots that will open up your eyes. Although my recipe was a little smaller, for 4 people you’ll need the following:
- About 1 and 1/2 Pounds of Baby Carrots – 6 Inches of Less In Length. (Washed, Dried, and Greens Trimmed to 1 Inch in Length).
- 1 Medium Sized Onion – Peeled and Cut Into 8 to 12 Wedges.
- 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (You May Need More – Don’t Feel Bad)
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Rosemary
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste