Carrots rarely even take on a supporting role.
No, carrots for us have always been like the crew in the background — always there, can’t pull off a blockbuster without them, and yet never appreciated. We throw carrots into the stockpot for aroma, add them to sauces for sweetness, and toss tiny, tasteless threads into salads for color. We’d probably notice that something was off if they weren’t there, but we might not figure out, “Oh. Where are the carrots?!”
We know, it’s nothing new to toss root vegetables — sweet potatoes, ruby red beets, perfect little potatoes, — with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them until they’re dark and soft and sweet. It’s nothing new to you, but we only recently realized that we could, and most definitely should, do this with carrots.
We thought it was enough to graduate carrots from background to side dish with this simple preparation, but when we tasted the colorful baby carrots, we pulled the side dish out of the shadows and almost declared them the headliner.
Of course, we’ve been eating cocktails for breakfast and desserts for dinner, so this all works our perfectly.
Roasted Baby Carrots
You can also use this same technique with any vegetable, just adjust the roasting time to fit the size of the vegetable.
serves 4 as a side dish, maybe 1 as a main dish. if you’re into that kind of thing
2 pounds baby carrots (we found colorful ones at the market, but regular orange ones are fine, as are regular carrots, just slice them lengthwise into halves)
about 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off tops of carrots, scrub, and pull off “hairs,” but do not peel. Baby carrots are so small, if you peel them, you’ll have nothing left.
Toss carrots with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet with a low rim.
Roast carrots until wrinkled and darkened (but not burnt!), about 35 minutes, longer if the carrots are bigger.
If you want to add herbs, toss finely chopped fresh herbs in with the olive oil salt and pepper, making sure that the herbs are coated with oil, too (so they don’t burn).