You'll never think of boiled carrots as part of a sad dinner again with this recipe, from my cookbook On the Side. Adding a twist to carrots takes almost no effort, and shouldn’t add any extra time to the overall cooking process; the minimal preparation required for a final flourish can be done while the carrots bubble away. The twin nuttiness of brown butter and toasted hazelnuts, grassy parsley, and a squeeze of sharp lemon juice is all it takes to compliment a flank steak or pork chop or insert-main-here into to the best meal of your week.
Slice the carrots lengthways (or leave them whole if they’re small). Put them in a saucepan and add cold water to cover. Add a couple of pinches of salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 10–15 minutes, or until tender.
Roughly chop the hazelnuts and chop the parsley as finely as you can.
Drain the carrots and return them to the pan or transfer to a serving dish. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium-high heat until it starts to froth. After a minute or so the butter will be golden and will smell nutty, and a patch in the middle will become calm. When that happens, throw in the crushed hazelnuts, stir them for 10 seconds, then turn off the heat, squeeze in the lemon juice and add the parsley.
Quickly pour the contents of the pan over the carrots. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, toss well so that all the carrots are glossy and the parsley and hazelnuts are evenly distributed. Serve immediately.