Every so often I'm lucky enough to find beautiful rainbow carrots at my local farmer's market in Del Ray. Especially at this time of year, when the natural world is starting to look dull and gray, it's a pleasant surprise. No matter the price, I pretty much have to have them. And once I have them, I have a go-to method for cooking them. I've been preparing carrots this way for ages, so I thought it was about time to finally jot down the recipe. This makes a great side dish to a rich or meat-focused main, a colorful vegetarian dish, or a warm lunchtime snack (which is when I normally end up wanting it). It's simple, but not plain.
- 1 bunch of carrots or 5-10 bagged carrots, depending on size
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small lemon or lemon wedge
- 1 tsp parsley
- salt and pepper
First, peel your carrots and remove the ends. This feels pretty straightforward, but I have a couple of important notes.
1) If you are working with multi-color carrots, the deep purple hue has a tendency to reside near the surface of the vegetable. Try to peel as gently/minimally as possible to preserve the color, otherwise, you'll end up with a white carrot that was once purple.
2) The purple pigment and some of the deeper oranges will stain fingers, cutting boards, and very rarely, clothes. Use a cutting board you're not deeply attached to, or wash it immediately after cutting with hot water and soap.
I like to give my carrots a second wash after peeling them, in order to get rid of any residual dirt and peelings.
Next, cut the carrots on a bias, or diagonally. 1/4-1/2 inch thick is ideal. If you are working with fresh parsley, get that chopped up now. I have made this recipe with leeks from time to time as well, and they get prepped at this step.
Like trees and onions, carrots have layers! Look at that incredible color!
Next, warm a saute pan over medium-high heat until a droplet of water sizzles when sprinkled in. Add the butter and melt, then immediately add in the carrots and parsley. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat, and then add the white wine and reduce to medium-low.
Salt and pepper liberally (or use a seasoned salt), taking care to taste while you're working. Cook uncovered, over medium-low heat, until the carrots can be pierced with a fork, but are not yet mushy.
Another note about working with colored carrots: if you use a ceramic pan like I do, and if that inner coating happens to be white or light colored, it will likely be some shade of purple by the time you're finished cooking. I recommend rinsing it as soon as you've plated the dish. Also, as you can see below, the white carrots have a tendency to absorb the purple pigment when they're in the pan. It's not normally a problem for me, but if you are intent upon preserving the individual colors of each of the carrots, I recommend cooking the purple carrots in a separate vessel from the orange and white.
Squeeze fresh lemon over the dish, and serve hot! I usually sit down right away to enjoy this dish by itself, but I have also very successfully paired it with rainbow trout, pork chops, rice pilaf, minerally Riesling, witbier, and american pale ales.