Author Notes: This is on the appetizer menu at a local Italian-ish restaurant, I love it so much that I order it as my main course every time I go. Needless to say, I had to recreate it at home. They use a wood-fired oven for their carrots, so if you have one laying around, you should too. If not, muddle through like the rest of us with your plain old, regular oven. —Lindsay-Jean Hard
Makes: enough to fill your favorite platter
Roasted peanuts (Spanish if you have them, they look swankier)
Parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash your carrots. Peel them if you like to make more work for yourself or if they look especially gnarly. Cut them in half, or quarters if they are especially large.
- Spread out your carrots on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt. (No, these items aren't listed in the ingredients. They don't count. They should be in your kitchen at all times.) Roast in the oven until just tender and starting to get some crisp edges -- 20 to 30 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, reduce your balsamic vinegar (bring it up to a boil, and then reduce the heat to keep it at a low simmer until it reduces to about 1/3 of the original volume). What's that you say? It's a weeknight and you don't want to muck about with reducing balsamic vinegar, and you happen to have a bottle of Trader Joe's Balsamic Glaze on hand? That's cool, it will work, and I won't reveal your secrets.
- Once your carrots are sufficiently roasted, put them on a platter, drizzle them with the balsamic reduction, scatter little blobs of goat cheese, sprinkle with peanuts, and then a bit of chopped parsley.
- If the lack of concrete numbers is horrifying you right now, I started with about 2 pounds of carrots, and that was just enough to completely fill one baking sheet. I probably used 2 to 3 tablespoons of reduced balsamic, about 2 ounces of goat cheese, a small handful of peanuts (between 1 and 2 ounces), and around 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley -- but I would bump up the amounts of all of the toppings if I was plating the dish instead of serving it family style.