Caramelizing roasted carrots before popping them in the oven brings out their natural sweetness. To get a good caramelization on the roasted carrots, you must leave them in the pan without stirring for several minutes. This is hard for me. I keep wanting to stir and flip them so they don’t burn. But getting a good brown, almost a char, on the carrots is key to bringing out the sugars and developing the sweet flavor. Pick up a chunk or two as they cook to see if they are browning, and only then can you stir them.
Chef Iggy cuts his carrots into odd little polygons using a fancy “oblique cut.” The video below will show you how. These cool little shapes expose a lot of surface area to the skillet to get browned, which helps develop a rich flavor. Plus they are unusual looking, which ups your food presentation game.
This earthy side dish works best with the larger carrots of late summer and early fall, or supermarket carrots that have been stored a while. Save the tender baby carrots for salads and other lighter dishes.
This recipe serves 6-8 people.
4 pounds carrots
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the carrots into bite sized pieces. I suggest Chef Iggy’s oblique cut: Cut the carrot at an angle, and give it a quarter turn for each cut.
Check out the video for a tutorial.
Heat a large ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and carrots. Cook them until they start getting a nice brown surface, maybe 10 minutes. Resist the urge to stir the carrots more than once or twice, as letting them sit on the heat is what builds the caramelization. Add butter, salt and herbs. Toss and cook for a few more minute to melt the butter and evenly cover the carrots with herbs.
Place carrots in oven and cook until they are tender, 15-20 minutes. When they aren’t quite done you can turn off the oven and let them sit until the rest of dinner is ready.
Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt. Roasted carrots can be served hot or at room temperature, and a side of roasted carrots goes nicely with oven-roasted chicken or pork.