Oh yes, life of a college student: finals are upon us. On an aside, I’m taking time (some might say “procrastinating”) from studying from a comprehensive anatomy exam to tell y’all about my charred carrots. I must admit the early workings of this blog aren’t very veg heavy, which is ironic because I freakin’ LOVE vegetables… weird right.
This recipe came out of me watching Netflix’s “Chef’s Table” documentary on Francis Mallmann. If you don’t know who this guy is I suggest you google him. He’s VERY unique. He’s famous for his extravagant dinner parties assembled in remote locations (think Patagonia), prepared with the most primal of cooking methods (think whole animals roasting over big fuck off fire pits and root veggies covered in coals). He also has a passion for music, wine, and love making. He’s basically the man.
So Mallmann has this part in it where he’s describing what burnt, or charred, flavor does to things. Or maybe it was in the documentary described by the narrator. I forget because I binge watched that series a long time ago. Haven’t been “procrastinating” that much sheesh people! And I can’t even remember what burnt or charred food item he was talking about (maybe it was carrots?) but I just thought “what would happen if I just got a pan ripping hot and basically burnt some carrots?” That’s kinda why I do this thing with carrots… again weird right.
These carrots manage to become gooey and soft on the inside, yet have a crispy, just burnt exterior on them. They get a great crust and caramelization on them and you could really cook them less depending on your preference of veggie rawness. Because you’re cooking them at such high heat I do recommend animal fats BUT only because they have higher smoke points than plant based fats. Ie might as well not make your olive oil semi-toxic if you can help it. If you gotta do the plant thing I get you, I really do. Cooking with restrictions is my jams. Just use coconut oil, or another plant based fat with a super HIGH smoke point and don’t get your pan as ripping hot (avocado oil might do okay?).
As always, it’s not a science and I encourage you to play with spices, cook times, and pan heat to get the best damn carrots for YOU! I digress, here’s how I cook ’em.
- Six or so carrots (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut lengthwise in half
- 1 TBSP pasture pork lard (other animal fat could work too- coconut oil if you must)
- 1 tsp. S & P
- 1/2 tsp. each of cumin & coriander
- Heavy 1/2 tsp. each of smoked paprika & nutmeg
- A sprinkle of dried rosemary
- Get a stainless steel pan and set it on a burner over medium-high heat. Let it warm up until it’s smoking.
- CAREFULLY add your fat of choice to the pan. Next go the carrots, salt, and pepper. Stir around with a wooden utensil or flip them if you’re feeling adventurous. Just CUIDADO!
- Cover for 3-5 minutes.
- Take off the lid and throw in the rest of your spices.
- Cover and let cook for 10-15 minutes depending on how tender you like your carrots. NOTE: you might need to back the heat off depending on how hot your stove runs.
- Check and toss around/ stir with that wooden utensil about 2-3 times total.
- Carrots are done when they’re fork tender and slightly black on the outside. Optional: you can also take them off the burner and let them steam a bit too, they just won’t be as crisp.
- Buen provecho!