As I type this, I've got the Serious Eats copy of Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchenpropped open on the book stand on my desk, and I'm looking at a beautiful photo of his braised carrots. And I guess you are, too (right). I thought it was interesting that Richard left his braised carrots whole and created a little stash of faux carrot greens out of mâche. This elevation of the humble carrot spoke to me, and I thought it might speak to you as well, so it's today's Cook the Book recipe (after the jump).
Richard recently won a 2007 James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef for his work at Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. Happy in the Kitchen, which you can enter to win here, was itself nominated for Cookbook of the Year. The book is full of other showstopping food treatments, and even if you never cook from it, the photos make for some first-rate food porn.
- 1 orange
- 8 carrots about 9 inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter (about 12 ounces), with their greens
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Fine sea salt
- Pinch of ground coriander
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Finely ground black pepper
- For the salad
- 1 cup mâche
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. With a vegetable peeler, peel the zest in strips from the orange, avoiding the white pith. Finely chop the zest, place in a small strainer, and dip into the boiling water to blanch for a minute. Rinse zest under cold water; drain on a paper towel.
Spread zest on a plate; allow to dry at room temperature for 24 hours, or dry in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
Squeeze 1/2 cup juice from the orange. Set aside. Cut off carrot greens and reserve. Peel and trim carrots.
In a sauté pan large enough to hold the carrots in a single layer, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sauté for 30 seconds. Add the orange juice, sugar, a pinch of salt, the coriander, and carrots. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock; simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and fill a medium bowl with ice water. Pick the leaves from the carrot greens and discard the stems. Break leaves into 1- to 2-inch pieces. There should be about 1 cup of loosely packed greens. Blanch greens in the boiling water for about 15 seconds. Drain in a strainer, and immediately plunge strainer into ice water to stop the cooking. When the greens are cold, lift strainer, drain well, and dry greens on paper towels.
When the carrots are tender, transfer them to a plate; cover loosely to keep warm. If there is more than 1/2 cup liquid remaining in pan, return pan to burner and simmer to reduce to 1/2 cup. Combine the cooking liquid and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a blender, add carrot greens, and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (There will be about 1/2 cup sauce.)
Gently toss the mâche with the oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt; add pepper to taste. Serve the carrots family-style on a platter, arranged in a bunch with the mâche at the top and the sauce poured along one side, or serve 2 carrots per plate with a small mound of mâche and the sauce spooned onto the side. Sprinkle the carrots with the orange zest.
Photograph courtesy Artisan Books