One of the best ways to enjoy the freshest produce, is to shop at your local farmer’s market. I am always amazed at the variety and quality of produce as I walk by the produce stands. I found these small purple carrots at my market last weekend. Produce this good doesn’t need much doctoring to be delicious. We simply need to add flavors that will bring out their natural sweetness and fresh flavor.
Whole carrots are roasted until fork tender and then glazed with a grapefruit and honey reduction. The glaze adheres to the carrots and adds a sticky sweetness. To add crunch and fresh flavor, the roasted and glazed carrots are topped with a gremolata made with the carrot tops, an often overlooked part of the plant. They are very flavorful, similar to parsley and add great flavor to this recipe. Plus, no waste is always a win! To the tops, we add toasted hazelnuts for crunch and lemon zest to add a pop of fresh citrus flavor.
When the gremolata hits the warm carrots, the heat of the carrots activates all the flavors in the fresh topping. The aromas and flavors are outta this world.
This dish is meant to be versatile. Use what you find at your local market! The carrots can be replaced with beets or even sweet potatoes. The carrot tops in the gremolata can be subbed for some fresh parsley. If you hate grapefruit, replace it with a big squeeze of lemon. Do your thing. This recipe is easily adapted and always delicious.
Ingredients purple carrots recipe:
For the Carrots:
- 1 bunch small carrots
- Drizzle olive oil
- Pinch salt
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup grapefruit juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
For the gremolata:
- 1/3 cup minced carrot tops (or curly parsley)
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds or a combination of the 3
Directions to prepare the purple carrots:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Toss the carrots with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
- While the carrots are roasting, combine the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan. Simmer to reduce the glaze by about half, 7-10 minutes.
- Add the chopped nuts to a dry skillet and toast the nuts over a medium-low heat until golden brown. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent burning, about 6-8 minutes.
- Combine the gremolata ingredients, except for the nuts, together on a cutting board, and chop together to combine.
- Toss in the nuts and set aside.
- Once the carrots are tender, remove from the oven and brush with the glaze.
- Return to the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Remove and glaze again and bake for another 3 minutes. Repeat this process one more time. Your carrots should be glazed and baked for 3 minutes three times.
- Remove from the oven and top with the gremolata. Serve.