Hollywood Farmers French Market Carrots

/

French Market Carrots

I went to the Hollywood Farmers Market this morning in search of French Market Carrots. As I mentioned in my last post carrots are a holiday “must have” for me. If you aren’t familiar with this particular type of carrot then I should let you in on its most unusual attribute. This is a round carrot. It’s also a nineteenth-century French heirloom variety whose round shape and small size were developed to be grown in the shallow window boxes sur les rues et les avenues de Paris”. I’m pleased to say I got 3 of the last 4 bunches. I guess other folks consider special little carrots a Thanksgiving “must have” as well.

Of course, I could have made do with some other type of carrot. I spied bunches and heaps of the most unusually colored carrots you can imagine – red, yellow, white, and even two-toned varieties. I could certainly impress my guests with Technicolor carrots. Still, as much as the color appealed to me, it’s Thanksgiving. I felt the need for something a bit more traditional. Because purple carrots may catch the eye but they’re not like the carrots my mommy used to make. Nope, my mommy served orange carrots on Thanksgiving, so I chose orange. I may have wanted orange carrots, but I required round carrots.

How could anyone require a round carrot? Isn’t that a little too persnickety? Maybe. But you see, I also got elongated little yams about the size of a fat Cuban stogie. I was hoping to roast them and serve them on the plate whole and unpeeled. Round carrots are the perfect visual counterpoint. I could hardly have had two tube-shaped vegetables on the plate.

So, with round carrots in hand, it’s time to think about what to do with these French Market Carrots. They taste spectacular raw and have a very intensified carroty flavor. They’re just the right size to pop into your mouth too. No recipe. No cooking. No need to peel these babies. So I could just end my post here and serve them raw, pas de problem, oui?

Well, non.

This is Thanksgiving and I plan to put a little more effort into these carrots than simply: Wash well and dry thoroughly.

But I can still keep it simple. I’ve chosen Glazed French Market Carrots with Quatre Épices.

Glazing is a very traditional way to cook carrots in France. French cuisine is also well known for traditional mixtures of herbs and spices that are so beloved they’ve become known as a single ingredient. Herbes de Provence, Fines herbes, and in this case, Quatre épices– a holiday-appropriate blend of ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. It’s like a savory version of pumpkin spice. GREG

French Market Carrots

Glazed French Market Carrots with Quatre Épices

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6-8Published

You can make these several hours ahead, but do not refrigerate them. Serve them at room temperature or reheated gently in their own glaze.

Glazed French Market Carrots with Quatre Épices

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pound small, round (trimmed then quartered, halved, or left whole so they are all of uniform size)
  • water (as needed)
  • 2-3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)

Directions

Place the carrots into a sloped sided pan large enough to just hold the carrots in a single layer. Use multiple pans if necessary. Add enough cold water to cover them a bit less than half. Add the butter, ginger, nutmeg, clove, sugar and a big pinch or two of salt and pepper. Bring the water to a very low boil then adjust the heat to keep the boil gentle.

Simmer quietly, turning occasionally, for 8 or 10 minutes. Once the liquid has reduced by half and begins to thicken test them for doneness. They should be beginning to get tender somewhat, but not yet finished cooking.

Continue to cook, 6 to 8 more minutes depending on size of carrots, rolling the carrots around in the pan from time to time. As they get nearly cooked and the glaze gets quite thick you will need to roll them more and more. Give them your undivided attention. You want to remove them from the heat at just the right time when most of the liquid will have evaporated and you will be left with glossy little gems. They should be cooked through but not be mushy. If the carrots cook before the glaze is thick and glossy remove the carrots adding them back to the pan at the last minute if necessary.

Taste glaze and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper before serving while still warm.