New Year’s Resolution Delayed – Eat More Carrots

April 6, 2009 at 9:15 am

Rob Gardner

I just got around to telling you about my New Year’s Resolution to have people say rocket instead of arugula.  I mentioned then that I had another resolution for the year: eat more carrots.  I kinda dismissed this noble goal when championing rocket-speak, but a supply of over-wintered carrots in my first Genesis Growers Spring CSA box reminds me that carrots are where it’s at.

What motivated carrot?  I would say that at the end of the year, we collect more carrots in the Bungalow then any other vegetable.  They are the apple of the savory side of our table (but like apples can occasionally switch hit).  Like the apple, they are a staple of the kid’s lunches.  See that’s the thing, for all the carrots we get each year, the vast majority are just tossed into lunches wiley-niley.  What does not go into lunches was mostly saved for stock/braises.  How often did we eat carrots as a dish.  Well, in 2009, we would.

Would we.  I would say that so far we have put a lot of carrots in lunches and grated them a few times for salads.  We have not given them full resolution attention.  What we ate with dinner the other night, however, would convince anyone to eat more carrots.  These were overwintered carrots, and let me also convince you that there are no better carrots than carrots that spent their winter vacation shivering away in the ground.  To adjust, carrots throw off layer upon layer of carrot shell, so overwintered carrots are huge, but they also produce huge amounts of carrot sugars in the process.   Roasting takes advantage of this process.

As Editor-in-Chief Morowitz says, anyone can cook local vegetables because all it takes is chopping and turning an oven to around 400.  If there’s any skill in roasting veg it’s matching the shape to the amount of time you have.  I cut these carrots into walnut sized chunks.  These took a little less than an hour of roasting to get black but not burnt on the outside and almost hollow tasting on the inside.  Carrot candy.  I garnished with some local cilantro for herbage and then, copying a Mado version, some Hook’s local blue cheese.  The salty-pungent cheese contrasts ideally to the sweet carrots.  Roast carrots work well at room temperature, so they are also convenient to fit into a dinner schedule.

Roasting’s great, but carrots take to so many preparations.  For salads, you can go French which is about nothing more than grating and lemon, or you can go Moroccan where the carrots are quickly cooked and then dressed with cumin.  I also love the hybrid Russian “Korean” carrot salad where blanched carrots slices are tossed with a hot garlic oil.  And no one’s ever turned their nose on a good glazed carrot.  Use maple syrup for full locavore-ish effect.  Hey, I’m like my daughters in that I can munch on a 1,000 carrot sticks.  This year, though, I’m gonna eat carrots other ways too.