One of my favorite things to become available this time of year is rainbow colored carrots. The jewel like colors of these carrots are not only alluring to look at, but they also happen to be extremely sweet and delicious. Rainbow colored carrots are also a novel vegetable to serve to guests as I have found that most people have never seen them before.
Historically, cultivated carrots seem to have originated in the areas of Middle East and Asia and were known to be purple and black in color. The orange colored carrots that we are most familiar with today were not developed until the 1600's when the Dutch cultivated a sweeter and more practical root. The sweet orange fleshed varieties of carrots that are most commonly grown in gardens today such as Nantes and Chantenay were cultivated by the French.
High levels of beta carotene are what make carrots good for your eyes. They have the highest source of provitamin A carotenes of any of the vegetables that are most common to us. They also provide rich sources of vitamin K, biotin, and dietary fiber as well as very strong levels of potassium, vitamins C and B6.
Rainbow colored carrots are too beautiful to chop up into a mirepoix and, in my opinion, best left in their natural state as much as possible to preserve their beauty. Simple roasted carrots are always a favorite of mine. Roasted rainbow carrots made with a pinch of cumin and freshly grated orange zest will make a sweet and delicious showstopper at any meal.
Roasted Rainbow Carrots
For all ingredients, please consider using those that are grown organically.
|16||colored carrots, use orange carrots if rainbow colored carrots are unavailable|
|1/8-1/4 teaspoon||cumin seed|
|1||orange, zest only|
|1-2 tablespoons||olive oil|
|freshly ground black pepper|
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Peel the carrots. Trim the tops off of the carrots leaving about 1/4 inch of the stem.
Carefully slice the carrots into quarters lengthwise starting about 1/3 inch below the base of the stem. You do not want to cut the carrots into pieces, but merely to fan them out for more even roasting. If the carrots are on the thin side, cut into halves or thirds.
Lay the prepared carrot roots on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Drizzle the olive oil over the carrots along with the cumin, orange zest, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to toss all of the ingredients together so all of the carrots are seasoned.
Roast the carrots in the preheated oven for 15-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the carrots, or until they begin to turn golden brown and the surfaces start to bubble a bit. If the tips are cooking too quickly, turn the heat down to 375.
Remove the carrots from the oven, transfer them to a platter and serve immediately.
Leftovers are excellent the next day used in salads