Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fancy That! Day 2 of the Veggie Marathon
What’s cooking? Gem-cut Carrots

This is the second in a series of four posts to present veggies as the gorgeous foods that they are. On the theory that what looks good tastes better.

I’m not sure how husbands and wives ever work together, unless the wife just says “Okay, honey,” and follows his instructions. It doesn’t seem to work well at our house in the reverse – i.e., when the wife (that would be me) is giving the instructions. Maybe it’s my tone of voice. Or my tendency to assume the role of the Hollywood director. Maybe he’s just too sensitive for this job. In any case, you can’t even imagine how fraught with potholes was the process of getting these photos. (I know, I should have done a tiny video, but if this series took three takes, I don’t even want to imagine the process.)

The important thing I wanted to show you today is this really lovely way of cutting carrots so that they don’t look like something out of a can. I got this technique from one of my classes at the Culinary Institute, and while it takes a bit of practice, it’s much easier than it looks.

Step 1: Holding the knife at a 45º angle to the carrot, cut the tip of the carrot off to create a clean angled edge.

Step 2: Roll the carrot 180º, keeping the knife at the same 45º angle.

Step 3: Slice the carrot at the point of the cut edge nearest you, to produce a carrot piece with two angled edges.

Step 4: Roll the carrot back 180º – still keeping the knife at the same 45º angle – and make another cut as in Step 3.

Step 5: Keep rolling the carrot back and forth as you cut, always maintaining the knife at the same 45º angle to the carrot.

It’s called a gem cut, and when you’re finished, the darlings really do look like bright orange gems. The same cut works well for parsnips, too.

For cooking the carrots, I adapted a recipe from Thomas Keller’s wonderful book of family-style recipes, Ad Hoc at Home. And here’s a confession: I bought the non-organic carrots because I believe they’re sweeter than the organic ones.

Kitchen Goddess note: These carrots may be cooked a day ahead, stopping before you add the last 2 tablespoons of butter, and refrigerated in their liquid. Then when you are ready to serve, reheat them in a sauté pan, reducing the liquid just slightly, and swirl in the extra butter.

Gem-Cut Carrots

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut in gem shapes
kosher salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground coriander)
2 tablespoons dry sherry or Madeira
1 cup fresh carrot juice (alternatively, you can use fresh-squeezed orange juice)
large pinch of sweet curry powder

Garnish (optional): Quinoa Crispies

In a large sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for 7-8 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary to keep the carrots from browning.

In the meantime, put the caraway seeds and the coriander seeds into a sachet bag. Set the bag aside. (If you use ground coriander, stir it into the carrots when the carraway seeds go in. And if, like me, you don't mind the presence of carraway seeds in the dish, there's no need for a sachet bag at all. It’s just a bit more elegant without them.)

Add the sherry and continue to cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add the carrot juice, the curry powder, and the sachet, and allow the carrots to just simmer another 4-6 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, until the carrots are tender enough to your liking. (The timing will depend on the size of your carrot gems.)

Remove the sachet and turn the heat to medium high, to reduce the sauce slightly, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with salt, and garnish with Quinoa Crispies. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment