Remember those addictive “smashed” potatoes we talked about back in May?
Well, as autumn produce has begun to appear in markets, I decided to experiment with a twist on this recipe using carrots. Yes, it’s a bit more labor intensive than straightforward roasted carrots and, no, they don’t quite get the same crispy crunch that potatoes prepared this way do — carrots, like most vegetables, have a higher water content than potatoes, so that impacts their ability to get a major crunch without deep frying. But, this is still worth doing, especially for a small group.
By smashing the carrots and drizzling them with the seasoned oil, you really enable the flavor to infuse every bite. And you do get an interesting variety of textures, with the exterior slightly charred and the inside still soft.
Serves 2-4, depending on portion and appetite size
A note on the carrots: I used baby carrots from the farmers market. They still had the stalks, which I trimmed, and the hair-like root ends, which I also cut off. I didn’t bother peeling them. You can use the packaged, bagged, pre-cut carrots if desired; they are certainly convenient, if lacking in flavor, but you will compensate for that with this preparation. Alternatively, you can use whole carrots, which will be visually appealing; serve them on a long, rectangular platter.
1 pound carrots
1 teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon salt, divided
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon of salt to boil. Add the carrots and simmer for 6-8 minutes until just cooked through and tender. Drain well and set aside.
Heat your oven to 450 F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place the carrots in a single layer on the parchment. Using the bottom of a small measuring cup, press the carrots to “smash” them to a thickness of about ½ inch. The goal is to create uneven surfaces so the seasoned oil can permeate the nooks and crannies.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the oil, garlic, remaining salt and pepper for 30 seconds. Pour the oil on the carrots, allowing it to lightly coat each one. Toss gently with your hands or use a pastry brush to distribute evenly.
Roast the carrots in the oven for about 30 minutes until they are brown and crispy.