Carrots never made much of an impression and if it wasn't for the fact that they're loaded with vitamins that are good for your eyes I don't think I would purposely choose to eat them. Their flavor is neither here nor there and overall, seems to me at least, to be a rather boring vegetable.
I came across rainbow carrots for the first time at the Farmer's Market and thought they were awfully beautiful and different to look at compared to the regular orange ones, but still carrots are carrots, the taste of the purple, red and yellow carrots wasn't so very different to strike in me a new-found love of carrots, this only occurred after I tried a splendid recipe by Jamie Oliver which featured roasted carrots.
The carrots are roasted with crushed whole garlic cloves, a bunch of fresh thyme sprigs, salt, pepper, olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. The whole lot is tossed together, spread out on a sheet pan tightly covered with foil and baked in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. And what you come out with is the most delicious savory carrots you'll ever bite into. The roasting deepens the natural sweet flavor of the carrots while the garlic and thyme lightly infuse them and the red wine vinegar lends an ever-so-slight zing that contrasts perfectly with the salt. This way of cooking carrots is simple and hassle-free, and the only bad thing about it is that you'll probably never go back to eating steamed carrots, ever again.
ROAST RAINBOW CARROTS (serves 2-4):
1 batch of small rainbow carrots, about 8 spears (you can use regular sized rainbow carrots as well but I found that the taste is much more intense and flavorful with the smaller carrots)
1-2 glugs of olive oil
1-2 Splashes of red wine vinegar
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Pinch of salt & pepper, to taste
4 crushed whole garlic cloves
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Scrub the carrots clean and trim the tops off the carrots (I leave an inch or so of stem on them, these turn nice and crispy when cooked but feel more than welcome to trim them all off, it won't make your carrots taste any different in the end). Larger carrots can be halved length-wise as well as cross-wise, while smaller carrots can simply be halved length-wise.
3. Lay the carrots out on the baking sheet pan. Add the crushed whole garlic cloves, sprigs of thyme, olive oil (enough to coat all the carrots), red wine vinegar (I like a couple of splashes because I love the zing), salt and pepper (to taste, a generous pinch of each should do the trick). Toss all the ingredients together with your hands, I find that all the ingredients get mixed together more thoroughly if I use my hands to toss them together.
4. Lay everything out on the sheet pan in a single layer (a single layer is one of the secrets to proper and delicious roasting, if the carrots are laying on top of each other they will not caramelize and brown, instead they will steam). Cover the sheet pan tightly with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes (if using larger carrots bake for 35-40 minutes, smaller carrots will need 30-35 minutes of baking time).
5. Once the baking time is up (30-40 minutes), take off the foil, toss the carrots and stick it back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes to brown further. If you find that your carrots are browned to perfection before the 8-10 minutes are up then of course, feel free to take them out!
The result will be a beautiful batch of caramelized, sweet roasted carrots with essence of garlic and thyme! The carrots will be charred and crispy on outer edges but soft all the way through, savory delicious!