Like many home cooks, this time of year is a little tough for me. I love fall, and know its bright leaves and cooler temperatures are around the corner. The change in the weather will bring my favorites of fall including apples, apple cider, pears, root vegetables, and winter squash and with them lots of wonderful home cooked meals. On the other hand, here in the South it still feels hot like summer, but the piles of fresh corn and heaps of stone fruit no longer greet me at the market each week.
I wish autumn would hurry up and get here, but I know that once winter comes and the holidays are over I will be wanting a great tomato and some watermelon. Although I shouldn't rush the transition, just like every other year at this time I have already bookmarked recipes to try and I even roasted a chicken with crispy potatoes this week, which is madness when I consider that it feels like August outside.
Never the less, I really enjoyed the chicken and I knew when I was planning the meal that I needed a vegetable that would feel just as cozy. If you've never roasted carrots, you must as they taste unlike any other carrot preparation. Much like a toasted marshmallow, they have an almost smokey taste from the caramelized sugars but they are not mushy as steamed carrots can be (ick). These carrots also have a drizzle of honey, which really brings out the sweetness. It sounds odd, but don't skip this step as the honey takes these from a good dish to a great one. You might wait until fall to make these (and avoid the hot oven in the heat, very smart) but I think you'll find them to be a perfect accompaniment to so many things that you, too, will make them again and again.
Rustic Roasted Carrots with Honey
Adapted from Everyday Food, May 2008
Note: I don't measure when I make these anymore. For two of us, I use one bunch of carrots, plenty of salt and pepper, oil to coat, and a good drizzle of honey at the end. This recipe easily adjusts up and down in scale as you can't really mess it up as long as you let the carrots caramelize and season them well.
1 1/2 lbs carrots, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths. Halve pieces lengthwise if they're thick.
1 tablespoon oil
1-1 1/2 tablespoons mild honey
1. Preheat the oven to 450. Toss the carrots with oil on a baking sheet and season well with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast the carrots for 30-40 minutes, tossing once, until tender.
2. Remove the carrots from the oven and drizzle with honey. Allow them to sit for a minute or two to allow the honey to blend with the carrots and serve.