When a wish is granted, when the planets align and a serendipitous sequence of events deliver the answer to a private prayer, you get to live, for a while, in the calm assurance that life is magical. And so I am feeling that particular kind of magic this week because the day after I published my version of ABC Kitchen’s roasted carrots, I got an email announcing Chef Jean- Georges Vongerichten’s new cookbook, Home Cooking With Jean-Georges, My Favorite Simple Recipes. And there on page 188, is the recipe, the actual recipe for the carrots. I don’t have to go peel carrots for a week, (as I proposed to Chef de Cuisine Daniel Kluger), to discover the authentic procedure for this dish. I’d just have to order this gorgeous new cookbook with beautiful photos and clean layout (that pleases my graphic designer sensibility). And, believe me, I did. Immediately.
So here is the simple, but pleasing recipe for these elusive carrots. I had it almost right, except for the red wine, which should actually be red wine vinegar, (I will forever wonder if I heard it wrong or the waitress who told me how they were made got it wrong), and the blanching of the carrots ahead, and there is a step for incorporating the citrus juice at the end that I would have never figured out just from tasting the dish. OK..so I didn’t get it right at all…and I admitted as much in the last post.
So let’s start over with the carrots, can we? And consider making this book a part of your library for other amazing dishes I’ve sampled at ABC kitchen, like the Crab Toasts with Sriracha Mayonnaise. There is even a Thanksgiving turkey recipe I think I’ll be testing on mine this year. And speaking of Thanksgiving, these carrots would make a spectacular side that can be made ahead and served at room temperature—two wonderful characteristics for a dish on day when there is never enough time and never enough oven space to get everything done.
Cumin and Citrus Roasted Carrots
adapted from Home Cooking With Jean-Georges
1 pound medium carrots, peeled
3 garlic cloves
1 tespoon cumin seeds
1 tespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 oragnes
2 medium lemons, halved
Note: Blanching the carrots before roasting them makes a huge difference. Not only are they more flavorful, they also become juicy and tender when roasting.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a wide pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until a knife pierces them easily, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the paste by grinding the garlic, cumin, thyme, chile, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teasooon black pepper using a mortar and pestle, or alternatively a small food processor or blender, adding the olive oil and vinegar, and continue to pound or process until the ingredients become a paste. (Note from me: You may have to double the proportions if you are using a blender, because this amount may not clear the blade level and you’ll end up with a spinning blade that is not grinding the ingredients well.)
3. Drain the carrots and arrange them in a medium roasting pan in a single layer. Spoon the cumin mixture/paste over the carrots and coat them well. Cut the whole orange in half. Arrange the orange halves and two of the lemon halves over the carrots, cut sides down. Roast for 25 minutes or until the carrots are golden brown. Transfer carrots to a platter. Hold the citrus aside to cool.
4. When the citrus is cool enough to handle, squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice each from the roasted orange and lemon into a small bowl. Squeeze in 2 tablespoons each of juice from the remaining raw orange and lemon. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the carrots.
5. If making ahead: Keep roasted carrots in airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring them to room temperature before serving. Make the dressing but hold it separately to drizzle on carrots just before serving.