When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.
Today: Take carrots back -- this is the first step.
In a fit of hunger, I have never opened the fridge and exclaimed, “Damn, I need to eat some carrots. NOW.”
To be honest, carrots in both their raw and cooked iterations have always made me feel depressed.
Shall we relive your childhood?
Neglected sticks of rubber in the back of the produce drawer, only brought out for potlucks as vehicles for scooping up hummus or ranch dressing.
Those little babies coated with an odd gelatinous film, drowning in chlorinated water.
Dry and flavorless school lunch carrot sticks.
Gloppy and sickly-sweet grated carrot salad with raisins.
Worst of all: Mushy brown former carrotness popping up and ruining a beautiful beef stew.
I’m taking back the carrot and turning it into something special. All you need is some heat and an aggressive coating of fat and salt and sweet. Then you can join me in sending all of those bad carrot memories away.
More: Nicholas is taking it back, too -- here's how to eat carrots for dinner, 6 ways.
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Stem, peel, and cut the carrots in half lengthwise (or quarter them if they’re extra large). Place them in an oven-proof pan or baking dish. Toss with a small splash of olive oil, an even bigger splash of pomegranate concentrate or molasses (molasses will result in a sweeter dish), and a big pinch of kosher salt. Top with a pat of butter and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.
Cook until just tender -- about 20 minutes. Agitate the pan a few times to cook evenly. If they haven’t gotten all beautiful and caramelized, throw them under the broiler for a minute or two at the end. Once cooked, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and eat out of the pan with your fingers. Or, try one of these variations:
1. Draped over couscous, topped with pomegranate seeds and yogurt.
2. As a side dish to accompany any meat or fish.
3. On grilled bread with pesto.
4. Coarsely mashed with a fork, topped with crème fraîche and chopped mint.
5. With a freaking egg on top.
Photos by Phyllis Grant