Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On the side, Spice Roasted Carrots


I am always attracted to fresh, bright orange carrots at the farmers market.  With their springy, leafy green tops and wispy roots still attached, they are worlds apart from their plastic-wrapped counterparts at the grocery store.  They might even still have a little dirt clinging to them, telling you they really came from the earth.  (As opposed to those perfectly shaped baby carrots; who knows where they really come from...) 

Freshly washed carrots from the farmers market. 

The carrots from the farmers market even taste better - they have a sweeter and more grassy taste, whereas I think the carrots from the grocery store just taste a little watery and dull.  And speaking of watery, it is funny how those plastic wrapped carrots are packed in water, but yet can be so dry.  The carrots from the farmers market are always fresh and full of life.  And if you like a little variety in your life, look no further than the farmers market to find red, purple, and yellow carrots.  

The carrots from the farmers market come in all sizes... including some mini ones.

Sometimes when I get these carrots I just bring them home and eat them raw with an easy veggie dip, or I slice them up for salads or slaws.  But recently, I have been really into roasting them with spices to enhance their sweet flavor.  

No need to peel them, these carrots are perfect and beautiful just sliced in half.

You can really toss vegetables with any spices you like, but I often try out some new or more exotic spice blends.  Spice things up, if you will.  (Ha!  A pun!)  

So for these spice roasted carrots, I decided to mix sweet and salty with a rich spice blend known as baharat.  Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend commonly used to season lamb, lentils, stews, and soups and there are several different varieties.  The one originating in Turkey also contains mint, but the most traditional Arabic or North African baharat spice blend contains black pepper, coriander, cloves, cassia bark, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice.  Some blends also include chili pepper or paprika to give them a bit more ‘heat,’ but mine doesn't so I added some extra cayenne pepper to this recipe.  

Olive oil with sugar, salt, and spices to glaze the carrots.




Drizzle the glaze over the carrots...

...then toss them so they are well-coated before roasting...

...and in 15 minutes you can have a great, healthy side dish for a weeknight meal.

Obviously this is a recipe you could also make with large, bagged carrots from the grocery store, so that makes this an easy side for a weeknight meal; plus, the flavors are exotic and spicy, so it can shake up your normal everyday routine.  However, I would argue this recipe will taste best with fresh-from-the-earth carrots, so pick them from your own garden, pick them from your neighbor's garden (after asking nicely, of course), or pick some up at your local farmers market.  To find Baharat, check Whole Foods, order it from Amazon, or from fine spice purveyors online.

Also, if you want to roast sweet potatoes with this spice blend, check out my recipe on Chef Marcus Sameulsson's site



*And just FYI, I sent this over to Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans.  Check them out! 
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Spice Roasted Carrots
You can imagine this spice blend would be great with lots of vegetables but those with natural sweetness like carrots and sweet potatoes are a natural fit.  Try roasting halved onions too, or cauliflower florets.  Depending on the size of your vegetables, watch the roasting time and toss them once during cooking.  


1 large bunch of fresh carrots, tops still attached
2 tbsp fruity extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baharat spice blend (or more if you like)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (add only if your spice blend does not already contain cayenne, check the label)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  


Prepare carrots by chopping off the leafy tops and rinsing them well.  (If you like, peel them, but it is not necessary.)  If the carrots are medium-sized, chop them in half length-wise, but if they are large cut them into length-wise quarters.  If they are really long, cut them in half width-wise as well.  


Next, make the glaze by combining the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisking them together well.


On a rimmed baking sheet, spread carrots evenly, then drizzle with the spice glaze.  Using your hands or tongs, toss the carrots on the baking sheet until they are evenly coated with the glaze, then spread them out to roast them in a single layer.  Roast them in a preheated oven for about 7-8 minutes, until they are fragrant and beginning to brown.  Remove them from the oven, turn them over, and then return them to the oven to roast for an additional 7-8 minutes or until they are crispy and a dark caramel color.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

33 comments:

  1. Baharat is a wonderful spice mix. Your roasted carrots look heavenly! I love eating raw carrots with dips.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. so glad to see beautiful recipes using baharat! the stuff is in my blood and i'm always happy to see it being used on more than just lamb and rice.

    this is a beautiful, colorful and aromatic side dish. thanks for sharing!

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  3. One of my favorite ways to eat carrot. A little of garam masala works great too :-)

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  4. Carrot is one of my fav vegi and I like to eat it any way. This is one of my fav!

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  5. Mmmmh sounds and looks so yummy! WIll try this next weekend! :-)

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  6. These look wonderful! I made apricot-cayenne carrots for Christmas. The sweet and the spicy go together really nicely!

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  7. These must be so delicious: the natural sweetness of a caramelized carrot juxtaposed with the heat of the spice blend. Yum!

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  8. I've never seen such beautiful carrots :) I have roasted just about every other vegetable I can think of, but never carrots...I'm definitely going to give this a try!

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  9. Thanks for the introduction to that spice mix Amanda.
    The carrots are gorgeous.
    LL

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  10. These look beautiful and delicious! I will definitely be trying this soon.

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  11. These are absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!

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  12. I tried doing some "roasted carrots" on the grill last night, and they turned out great, tossed in some ginger and honey! I would really like to get my hands on baharat to give that a try, too. And yes, I was also wondering about the origins of baby carrots the other day as I chopped on some of the real deal... who needs cut and polished? I like that you didn't even feel a need to peel these!

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  13. I so agree with you about being drawn to carrots at the farmers' market! Roasted carrots are the best way to eat them, I also love baharat spice. I always think leaving a little of the stems is so pretty like you did. :)

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  14. Hi Dear, These carrots are looking gorgeous. Bright pictures loaded with goodness of carrots, simply loved this recipe and didn't knew it was that simple to make. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

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  15. Those look so delicious. I am NOT a fan of those little baby carrots in the store. Bleh. Thanks for sharing! Buzzed :)

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  16. Beautiful! I made something similar not too long ago and it was so good.

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  17. Such gorgeous photos! This spice blend is new to me, but the ingredients sound like it would make a perfect marriage with carrots~

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  18. You've reminded me how simple and good roasted carrots can be. I don't know why I'd forgotten. I've got some fresh goats cheese in the fridge that would be just perfect with these babies. Great!

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  19. Oh my goodness...those carrots are a work of art! What a color!

    P.S. We are having a "Summer Side Dish" recipe contest this week on Better Recipes...something like this would be great to submit! http://www.betterrecipes.com/contest/

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  20. These carrots - and your photos - look wonderful! I actually stopped by your blog because I loved the name - very clever! I'll be 'following' you in future!

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  21. I am in love with the teeny tiny carrots! This is the first time I read about "baharat spice blend", googling and looking it up on Amazon now :)

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  22. Carrots and Middle Eastern flavours just seem like they were made for each other... I can never resist a recipe that combines the two!
    I've never tried baharat before, but it sounds like it's right up my alley. Will have to try this next time I find a beautiful bunch of carrots at the market (or when my homegrown carrots are ready for harvest... just a few more weeks to go!)

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  23. Amanda - Your photography continues to blow me away!! Those are the most gorgeous carrots I've ever seen and I'm not even a carrot fan!! Kudos girlie. :)

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  24. Amanda - those carrots are STUNNING! And I cannot express how much I love roasted carrots. It's how they were meant to be eaten, I believe. Lovely :)

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  25. I just harvested a lot of creme colored and red carrots. I must try this!

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  26. I love roasted carrots! I discovered them only recently, so I am happy to experiment with new recipes and this one looks great!

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  27. What a lovely post--those carrots look absolutely gorgeous. Something about simplicity that makes the most humble veggies come alive. I love the color on them. Loved your blog!

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  28. ohh my! they look soo good! i need to try that spice mix! Awesome photographs..soo glad to have found your blog :)

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  29. Love the simpleness of this recipe! Can't wait to try it

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  30. Mmmmm, I love spice mixes like that--I'll have to try Baharat. I made a Moraccan stew last year that had similar spices in it and I've been craving it (even in the summer heat).
    You should try this recipe for roasted parsnips too. :)

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  31. Bharat!!!! Its another name of india in its native language hindi..

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