Roasted Carrots with Garlic Confit and Thyme

This month’s seasonal recipe for Roasted Carrots with Garlic Confit and Thyme comes from A Girl and Her Greens by chef and restaurant owner April Bloomfield. Greens is a perfect follow up to Bloomfield’s first book A Girl and her Pig. This vegetable centric--but not vegetarian--cookbook features beautiful recipes and photos that perfectly complement each season. Whether your kitchen is filed with carrots or romanesco, you’re sure to find the perfect recipe.

Roasted Carrots with Garlic Confit and Thyme (Serves 4-6)

Just as a pork chop or veal breast might benefit from starting on stovetop before being finished in the oven, so do carrots. Jumpstarting the browning on the stove helps bring out the carrots’ sweetness. Then, once their flavor has concentrated in the oven and the carrots are fully and evenly tender—I’m not a fan of crunchy roasted carrots or those that are crispy outside and mushy inside—your job is done. The addition of butter, thyme, garlic, and just enough lemon to perk up the palate is just the whipped cream on the pudding. When the carrots no longer scald your fingers, you can eat them with your hands, occasionally nabbing a garlic clove and squeezing the skin so the soft, sweet flesh pops into your mouth.

1/2 cup medium garlic cloves (about 16), unpeeled
About 2⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
20 small carrots (the size of a pointer finger), scrubbed well but unpeeled and all but 1/2inch of the tops removed
1 teaspoon Maldon or another flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 thyme sprigs
1/2 lemon

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 500˚F.

Put the garlic cloves in a small pot and add just enough olive oil to completely cover them. Set the pot over medium heat and wait until you hear a quiet sizzle. Reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook the cloves until they are smooshably soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the cloves and measure out 2 tablespoons of the oil (the rest of the slightly garlicky oil will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month).

Add the 2 tablespoons garlic oil to an ovenproof skillet just big enough to hold the carrots in one layer and set the pan over high heat. When the oil smokes lightly, add the carrots, sprinkle on the salt, and use tongs to toss the carrots well. Cook, shaking and turning the carrots occasionally, until they’re browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the butter to the pan, let it melt, and toss the carrots well. Add the garlic cloves, skin and all, and pop the pan in the oven. After a few minutes, add the thyme to the pan. Toss, then continue to roast, tossing once more, until the carrots are evenly tender, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your carrots.

Take the pan out of the oven and gently squeeze on just enough lemon juice to add brightness, but not acidity. Let the carrots cool a bit and serve warm.

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Credit: Reprinted with permission from A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield, copyright © 2015. Published by Ecco.