Nov 21, 2008

Roasted Carrots & Parsnips with Sage

Sorry to be so long between posts. I've been getting bombed lately with one thing after another and haven't had a chance to post. Sorry! But recipes have been piling up and I wanted to get this one out before Thanksgiving. It's really fast prep, although a bit of a long cook time, but you can do other things while these are in the oven.

I saw this recipe in Real Simple's December issue. I have long been a fan of this magazine, but usually get the least fired up about their food section. But this recipe sucked me in immediately. I love that these few ingredients come together into something much more than the sum of their parts.

When roasted, carrots and parsnips lose some of their water and shrink down a bit into little flavor bombs. If you like sweet potato fries, you'll love these. I'm not a big fried food eater and never fry food at home, but these are like cheater french fries. They are veggies. Real veggies. But they taste like french fries. They taste better than french fries, actually. My husband, who hates carrots, even loved them.

Slice the carrots and parsnips into the thinnest spiky strips that you can. I cut each half of a carrot or parsnip into at least three long strips. You get more roasty, carmelized goodness that way. The natural sugars in the root veggies make them just a little sweet, while the sage and crunchy salt balance out that sweetness with a savory twist. The sage leaves get all crisp and crunchy too and really enhance the carmelized flavor of the carrot and parsnips.

The proportions will sound like a lot, but keep in mind that the veggies shrink down while roasting. I spread these out over two cookie sheets so that they weren't overlapping and could spread out evenly for roasting.

Note: the original recipe called for 1/4 cup olive oil, but that proved way too much. I had to sop it up out of the pan with a paper towel midway through roasting. So I've cut that down. They got more roasty with just enough oil to coat them without them sitting in a pool of it. Also, I used a coarse, crunchy sea salt so that you get little hits of it. Adds great texture. Keep in mind when you're making these that they need to be served immediately. You could probably get away with letting them sit for a few minutes, but they won't make leftovers. You won't have any left over anyway.

We'll be making these over and over and over. They would be great with anything grilled -- burgers, chicken, fish, or as a side for a fancy dinner like Thanksgiving. I bet kids would love these.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Sage

1 1/2 pounds carrots
1 1/2 pounds parsnips
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
coarse sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and trim ends off of carrots and parsnips. Then cut them into long spiky strips. I cut each in half lengthwise, then cut those halves into at least three strips each.

Combine the carrot and parsnip strips into a large bowl. Drizzle over olive oil. Add sage leaves. Toss all together well to coat.

Spread out evenly over two (half sheet sized) cookie sheets so that the veggies aren't overlapping.

Roast in oven for 50-60 minutes, pulling them out twice during roasting to turn/stir around so that they cook evenly. Colors will deepen with browned edges when done.

Place on a platter for serving and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Real Simple magazine, December 2008.

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