"Carrots?" you say, "pshaw, carrots are boring. I buy the baby ones and put them in my (or my kid's) lunch. Isn't that enough?"
No, no, and no.
Carrots, believe it or not, can be fantastic, unique, and, dare I say it -- elegant. Yes, indeed, this humble root can make the segue from lunch pail to dinner platter with just a few simple tweaks.
Granted, if you toss any vegetable in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them on high heat for 30 minutes you'll create a side dish worth wallowing in. (Excuse me while I wipe those bits of brussels sprouts and sweet potato off my jacket...)
Where was I? Ah, yes, the oft overlooked carrot. Make this dish. Make it for company or make it for yourself. You'll see carrots in a whole new light -- pun intended.
Ginger Roasted Carrots -- serves 4 generous portions
--2 lbs whole carrots (Don't buy the peeled baby carrots for this. You want whole carrots -- their flavor and size are better for this dish. Bonus points for buying fresh ones from your local farmers market.)
--1/2 cup olive oil
--1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
--1 tablespoon ginger (powdered is fine, though fresh grated is a delicious alternative. If you use fresh, use less than a tablespoon)
--2 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste with a bit of salt
--salt and pepper to taste
1) Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
2) Wash, but don't peel, the carrots. Cut into large chunks (2 inch pieces). The carrots will shrink as they cook, so don't cut them too small.
3) whisk together the remaining ingredients
4) place the carrots in a single layer in a large baking dish (metal or glass). You may have to use two dishes.
5) Pour the vinaigrette over the carrots, using your hands to toss them to ensure even distribution.
6) Bake at 400 degrees, stirring once or twice, for about 30 minutes. Your oven may run hotter or cooler than mine, so be sure to check on the carrots regularly. You want them to be browned in some places, and starting to shrivel a bit.
Pour the carrots and any liquid in the bottom of the pan into a large bowl. Toss to redistribute the vinaigrette. Eat. Lick lips. Repeat.
Any leftover roasted carrots can be turned into a fantastic carrot ginger soup. Just puree the carrots with chicken stock, garlic, salt, a little butter or sesame oil, a bit more ginger, and perhaps a dash of curry.