Carrots are having a moment. Restaurants are featuring this common vegetable in interesting and starring roles. The earthy sweetness of carrots pairs well with exotic spices and the addition of sea salt. Heirloom varieties are now available in a rainbow of colors, taking the carrot from ordinary to wow! Carrots are in the umbelliferae family and related to parsnip, fennel, parsley, anise, caraway, cumin and dill. Did you know before the 16th Century, only purple, yellow and red carrots were cultivated? Modern day orange carrots weren’t cultivated until the late 16 th C by the Dutch by using mutant strains of the purple carrot and gradually developing it into the orange ones we enjoy today. A nod to the House of Orange perhaps? (whfoods.org).
Carrots are available year round, are economical and boast huge health benefits with their high content of beta carotenes, vitamin A, anti oxidants and minerals. Whatever their color, carrots are great for our health and thought to inhibit colon cancer cell growth. Roasting them adds a lot of flavor. Because of their natural sugar content, they will be slightly charred as they roast, infusing them with a smokey depth of flavor. Buy organic when possible. The closer to the soil a vegetable grows, the more toxins it might have absorbed. Enjoy as a side dish or an appetizer. So good, they might as well be called the vanishing carrot fries!
HONEY STUNG RAINBOW CARROT FRIES with YOGURT DIP
3 lbs rainbow carrots
3 sprigs of thyme
3 T honey
2 T olive oil
2 t cumin seeds, toasted
1 t caraway, coriander or fennel seeds
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T coarsely chopped parsley
DIP: 2/3 cup Greek yogurt; 2 T Tahini; 1 clove garlic,crushed; 2 T lemon juice; sea salt to taste. Combine together and serve witht the roasted carrots.
For the carrots: Preheat oven to 425 F Cut the carrots in 2 inch long batons. Mix the oil, honey and spices together and toss the carrots to coat well. Roast on the lower rack for 45-50 minutes, turning once. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley when done. Serve on a platter with the dip. If you can’t find rainbow carrots, substitute all orange carrots. Yum!
“The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.” Mae West