When I was little, I only liked raw carrots. In fact, I am exaggerating by saying “little.” I didn’t learn to love cooked carrots until adulthood. It just seemed wrong to take a delightfully crunchy root vegetable and turn it soft and mushy. But now I’ve learned to appreciate that when you cook carrots, particularly if you roast them, you bring out a delightful combo of sweet and savory. The texture, too, is somewhere between mushy and crunchy. It’s an experience worth trying.
Since carrots are often in abundance, particularly in the spring, I let myself experiment with them quite a lot now, rather than merely using them on crudite platters. Carrot soup, carrot risotto, carrots roasted under a chicken, carrot and beet orzo. And today, carrots roasted all on their own, with a truckload of flavor.
Some rosemary recently fell off the back of a truck and into my hands. That is to say, I acquired it from a co-worker. I knew that rosemary and carrots had an affinity for one another, so that was a no-brainer. I was making a chicken in my slow-cooker and thought, this side dish needs to have some really bold flavor. The rosemary took us halfway there – the rest of the way was accomplished by balsamic vinegar.
Roasting carrots in a vinaigrette creates an awesome glaze around the carrots so that you are guaranteed to get amazing flavor in every bite, along with all that beta carotene. The result is tasty and sassy. Use smaller sized carrots if you can find them – they’re even sweeter.
Roasted Balsamic & Rosemary Carrots (serves 2 as side)
- 8-10 small carrots, washed and scrubbed, tops removed
- 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper
- sprig of rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 400. Place the carrots in a baking dish (preferably one that only just fits them all so they aren’t rolling around loose in there).
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and honey. Pour it over the carrots, trying to distribute it evenly. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, and place the sprig of rosemary on top.
3. Roast for about 20 minutes, tossing the carrots about halfway through to evenly coat with the dressing. When the balsamic vinaigrette is bubbling vigorously and has thickened slightly, the carrots are probably done. Cook to desired texture (20 minutes will mean they are still a little crunchy). Serve immediately.