I once went to a party featuring small bites from Daniel Patterson's Coi kitchen. (It was quite a party.) One was a version of this dish—carrots fragrant with coffee, served in a flavorful broth with minuscule herbs scattered on top. I remember being shocked at how much coffee flavor was packed into each piece of carrot and even more surprised that the pairing worked. Recreating the dish at home from Patterson's cookbook isn't difficult: you only need to roast whole carrots nestled in a bed of coffee beans. The other elements of the composed plate are equally simple. The broth is a blend of carrot and mandarin juice (juice it yourself if you can or slide on over to your nearest juice bar to buy a couple bottles), seasoned lightly with vinegar, salt, and olive oil. A few slivers of raw carrot add crunch, and baby mint leaves add fragrance. It's a stunning bowl of food, and far, far easier than it looks.
Why I picked this recipe: I wanted to recreate the surprise I felt when first eating these carrots.
What worked: Coffee and carrots are a match made in heaven.
What didn't: Take care to follow the directions and roast the carrots until they are totally tender, otherwise the coffee flavor will overwhelm the natural sweetness of the vegetable.
Suggested tweaks: If you don't have access to Roman mint, you can use small, tender spearmint or peppermint leaves. You can easily scale this recipe up to make a larger portion or to serve more than four people, just make sure to use carrots that are about the same size so that they'll roast in the same amount of time.
Reprinted with permission from Coi: Recipes and Stories by Daniel Patterson. Copyright 2013. Published by Phaidon Press. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 4–12 carrots, depending on size
- 15 g pure olive oil
- 250 g whole coffee beans (we use Blue Bottle decaf.)
- To serve
- Young carrots
- Rice wine vinegar
- 80 g of carrot juice
- 80 g of mandarin juice
- 2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
- 20 roman mint leaves
- 12 roman mint flowers
Clean the carrots well, but leave the skin on. Use big or small carrots, of any color, just use ones that are sweet. Toss them with a little pure olive oil and salt, and place them on a bed of dark roasted coffee beans in a covered container. Cook in a 350°F (180°C) oven, shaking the pan occasionally, until the carrots are very tender. Don’t undercook the carrots, as their sweetness will not be fully revealed. Remove to a plate or baking sheet and let cool. Cut, as you like.
To serve, slice small rounds of young carrots, or the tips of a larger one not-too finely or you will lose the texture-and season with rice wine vinegar and salt, kind of a quick pickle. You will need three slices per dish.
Warm the cooked carrots in a low oven, covered, until just warm. Combine the carrot juice and mandarin juice. Season with rice wine vinegar and salt until the juice is on the sweeter side, with gentle yet persistent acidity. You might need to add more carrot or more mandarin juice, depending on the taste. Heat until just warm, check seasoning again and spoon some broth in a bowl. Drizzle in half a spoonful of fruity olive oil, and arrange the carrots in the bowl. Top with slices of the pickled carrot, and leaves and flowers of roman mint.