Monday, June 13, 2011

Finger Foods with Pan-Roasted Carrots

Sometimes I forget that I'm the parent and thus responsible for teaching manners. Today was one of those days. It's just so hard to think when I'm hungry. Toddler and I ate our entire meal with our fingers. We had roast chicken (purchased, ask me if I feel guilty), steamed green beans and pan-roasted carrots. I really don't see where a fork even fits in.

Ok, now, let me honor the carrot for a few brief moments.
Fact: The Dutch developed the orange carrot. Helps to understand their national color.
Fact: Carrots are chock-full of Vitamin A (as are all red/orange veggies), made up mostly of beta-carotene. These are high in anti-oxidants and maintain skin cells.
Fact: Carrots will in fact help you maintain eye-health and restore it if it has gone downhill.
Fact: Eating raw carrots only gives you 3% of their nutrients. Eating cooked carrots gives you 33%.
Fact: Eating enough carrots will turn you orange, not necessarily useful unless you want to be nice and tan before your vacation. If you want to tan more easily drink carrot juice before heading out into the sun. True story.

I usually don't like cooked carrots because they are typically overcooked and all their sugars have turned bitter. Bleh. However, this Barefoot Contessa recipe is so simple yet so right. I have tweaked the cooking method, from oven to stove-top, to fit the time frame of a normal human too poor to live in the Hamptons.

The high heat in the recipe allows the sugars on the outside of the carrots to caramelize and keep the middle still in tact. I usually go a little heavy on the salt because I feel that brings out the sweetness in the carrots. Cooking them in batches makes it so the carrots have room to actually caramelize, if you put them all in together they would just crowd each other and steam - unless you have a really big pan. Also, don't stir too much, allow the carrots to get those delicious charred marks, if you stand in front of the stove poking at the carrots, that won't happen.

Pan Roasted Carrots
Serves 2.5 (depending how much you like carrots)

8 medium carrots, thinly sliced on a bias
1-2 tblsp vegetable or canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tblsp of oil in non-stick pan on high heat. Oil should be enough to easily cover the bottom of the pan, but not have your carrots swimming in it. Add half the carrots and stir to coat with oil. Add salt and pepper. Cook carrots on high for 4-5 min or until they begin char at the edges.
If needed add more oil to your pan and throw in the second batch of carrots.

Presto! Super quick, vegan, gluten-free, and good for you - what more could you want?

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