So, with some incredibly fresh and beautiful red carrots from Hands of the Earth Farm, I set about creating Richard’s braised carrots with carrot-top sauce. I know, it’s a plate of carrots. But, wait. It’s a plate of perfectly tender, braised carrots with a mind-blowingly delicious sauce and a simply dressed salad. This is a must-try dish for the carrot-top sauce alone. The preparation began with chopped onion sauteed with butter. Then coriander, orange juice, and salt were added along with the carrots. That combination simmered for a few minutes. Chicken broth was to be added but I had none and used water instead. Water worked fine. After adding the water, the simmering continued for another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, the leaves were removed from the carrot stems, and then they were blanched, shocked, and squeezed dry. When the carrots reached a state of desired doneness, the remaining sauce was added to the blanched carrot leaves. Those were pureed with additional butter. Seasoning was adjusted. A quick salad was to be made of mache, but I used chopped baby spinach and arugula instead. The chopped spinach and arugula were tossed with red wine vinegar and olive oil.
The bunch of carrots scene was achieved with the leaf-like salad situated at the top of the plate with the whole carrots below which were sprinkled with dried orange zest. The sauce was spooned alongside the carrots. One minor concern was that my sauce wasn’t quite as bright green as that in the book, but it was so good I didn’t worry about the color for long. I served this as a shared first course, so all the carrots were positioned together on one plate.
The carrots’ orange juice-braised sweetness was balanced by the acidity of the vinaigretted salad. The butter-rich sauce with the savory onion and bright carrot leaf flavors was an unbelievably nice component. After seeing this dish in the book, I knew there would be visual appeal, but I had no idea how flavorful it would be. As soon as we tried it, the cuteness and wit of the dish became completely secondary to taste and textures and just plain deliciousness. It was intriguing enough to try and so enjoyable it’ll definitely be made again. Every item presented in the book looks like a similar win-win situation, and I’ll be trying more of them soon.