What’s up, Doc?
The humble carrot, dressed to impress.
Winter, with its paucity of produce choices, is the best time to enjoy root vegetables. The most familiar—and the easiest to convince family members to eat—is the carrot. Here, some ideas from the familiar to the less so. First…
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO ROOT VEGETABLES
Root vegetables most common in the U.S. include the beet, carrot, celery root (celeriac), Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, kohlrabi, onions (use baby onions), parsnips, potato (use small waxy potatoes), radishes, rutabaga, salsify, and turnip.
Root vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, which they absorb from the ground. Many are high in vitamin A, B complex and C; plus antioxidants. Root vegetables are an excellent source of fiber.
Many of these can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, baked, roasted, stir fried, or fried.
In the case of carrots, Whether baby, heirloom or standard, carrots and their root kin are waiting at your nearest market.
Beyond boiled carrots, carrot salad and crudités, consider these preparations:
Brochette: Parboil and skewer them, then grill them and serve as a fun brochette.
Classic: Steam them and toss in butter with fresh dill or parsley.
Gratinée: Roast or steam, top with shredded Gruyere or other cheese and broil until melted.
Fancy cut: Cooked the carrots shredded, as you wood a slaw; or use mini vegetable cutters to make small flowers and other shapes.
Roasted/Grilled: Roast them in garlic butter and garnish with chopped parsley.
Pan-fried: We just tried this for the first time. Here’s a recipe.
Pickles: Pickle carrots as you would cucumbers or any vegetables. You can quick-pickle in just an hour.
Purée: A terrific way to eat most dense vegetables.
Raw: as crudites or grated into a slaw/mixed slaw, or mixed into a salad. Just grate them or slice thinly. Beyond carrots, think beets and radishes. Anything sold fresh with the greens attached—kohlrabi, turnips—will be moist, sweet and of course, crunchy, when raw. While not sold with its greens, rutabaga is mild and often sweet. Although drier than turnips or kohlrabi, it contributes a pale yellow color to the mix.*
Soup: When was the last time you made soup? Carrot soup is a perennial favorite. Make it chunky—like a thin purée. Garnish with fresh herbs and, as desired, a slice of bacon or sausage.
Different choices here: Roasted carrot or mixed roasted vegetable sandwich, with or without goat cheese; or carrot pickles or carrot slaw on a ham, turkey or other sandwich.
Stew: For Meatless Mondays, try this hearty Carrot-Mushroom-Barley Stew from Food Network.
Blended: Combine with other root vegetables†: beet, celery root (celeriac), Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, kohlrabi, onions (use baby onions), parsnips, potato (use small waxy potatoes), radishes, rutabaga, salsify, turnip, etc.
Garnishes: Beyond herbs, consider toasted breadcrumbs, pecans, raisins, seeds or a mix. For color, try dried cranberries, dice red bell pepper or pomegranate arils. Rings of red jalapeño with the seeds and pith remove also work. Those who don’t like heat can set them aside.
Heat: Add your choice of heat—cayenne, chile flakes, hot sauce, etc.—to the dish.
Herbs: Basil, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme are naturals with carrots.
International: From Indian to Moroccan, French to Japanese, your favorite international flavors work with carrots.
Spices: “Fall” spices such as allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are delicious with carrots. Also try coriander.
Sweet: Add a bit of brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
WAYS TO TREAT ANY CARROT PREPARATION
Do you have a favorite carrot preparation?
If it’s not listed here, please let us know!
The original wild carrots were white, like parsnips. According to Colorful Harvest, marketer of rainbow carrots, the cultivated purple and yellow carrots—mutations—were eaten more than 1,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan.
Other colors are the product of generations of traditional plant breeding. Orange carrots were first successfully bred in Holland from an orange mutation by Dutch farmers. Here’s the history of carrots.
FROM WHERE DO CARROTS GET THEIR COLOR?
 “Cooked” carrot salad. Here’s the recipe from Walnut Frog.  Carrots with other root vegetables (here, radishes and baby onions). Here’s the recipe, with a maple-honey glaze, from Kalamazoo Gourmet.  Pan-fried carrots with parsley. Not the red skin: It’s an heirloom variety. Here’s the recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet. . These glazed carrots are accented with sesame seeds and pomegranate arils for more color. Here’s the recipe from The Café Sucre Farine.  Grilled carrot sandwich on crusty bread with goat cheese, apricot jam and toasted pine nuts, at The Wayfarer | NYC.  This picture is not Photoshopped: These are natural mutations. See how it happens, below (photo courtesy The Wayfarer).