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Charred, I’m Sure

May 8, 2010

Oh no. Oh hell to the no, Bobby.

This is not good. I was doing so well on my slow but sure climb away from the nag-for-take-out, landing comfortably, on most weeknights,  somewhere between frozen-naan-pizza and lemon gnocchi. And then Martha Stewart allowed me to put carrots in the oven, forget about them while watching The Real Housewives of New York, burn them, and smoosh them up to conceal the burned bits. And? The resulting heap of charred orange flesh tastes shockingly delicious.

(That’s a heap of carrots, not a heap of housewives. For charred orange flesh of the human varietal, you need the wives of Orange County.)

O.K. so it’s not so delicious if you burn the carrots all the way through, which I would not put past myself. But getting away with charring them within an inch of their lives seems to be new low bar for kitchen attentiveness, and someone like me does not need a new low bar. I need tough love from you, Martha! Discipline! It’s a good thing! Remember when you said it would be fun to make a glitter painting of a beloved pet, in just 800 easy steps, and mine turned out looking like a 3-year-old made it, and then sat on it? Those were the days.

This recipe, by contrast, seems like it’s straight out of Martha Stewart Lethargy. Rest while your veggies roast, sleepy sloth, and you will be handsomely rewarded. The burned parts give the orange mash a carbon-tinged, caramelized-carrot flavor, and the non-burned parts keep it creamy and spreadable. My boyfriend said it tasted like a Taro Chip on ‘roids. We served it, as Martha recommended (in a recipe that did not contain quantities of ingredients–are we in a another dimension or something?), on crisp, garlic-rubbed bread with goat cheese and parsley tossed in a little bit of vinegar and olive oil. The original recipe called for red wine vinegar, but I used sherry vinegar to good effect.

Next time I would roast the carrots whole to better preserve their creamy interiors.  I would also use flat-leaf parsley, not curly (my boyfriend got curly because I was, true to form, too lazy to make a list for him). And, most importantly, I would toss the parsley with the vinegar and oil only, and not the cheese. All three tossed together looks a little like Goat Goop. I am pretty sure that will never be a color in Martha’s paint line.

Are there other vegetables I should be nearly setting ablaze? Do tell. After you, you know, do whatever else you have to do, and take a T.V. break.

Bruschetta with Lazy Carrots, Goat Cheese and Parsley
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Serves 6 as a snack, 12 as a party bite

6 slices of crusty bread
1 garlic clove
4 large carrots, trimmed and peeled
olive oil
sherry vinegar
flat-leaf parsley to taste (I used about 1/4 cup, loosely packed)
crumbled goat cheese to taste (I used about 1/4 cup total)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle peeled carrots with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place them on the bottom oven rack. Watch Sousaphone Saxophone on YouTube for about 40 minutes. When you return, the carrots should be soft, and relatively charred on the outside. Mash carrots and set aside.

Place bread slices directly on your oven rack and cook, flipping once, until the slices are toasted on the edges, but still chewy in the middle. This took 5-7 minutes total in my oven. You could also put them under the broiler, or try toasting them on an ungreased grill pan over medium heat. Remove toasts from oven and rub them with the cut side of a garlic clove. Drizzle toasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If the bread slices are large and you are serving this as an appetizer, you could cut them in half at this point.

Toss parsley with oil and vinegar to taste. Spread mashed carrots onto toasts, top with the parsley mixture, and sprinkle with goat cheese.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2010 1:37 am

    This is hilarious! I was getting bored of reading about everyone’s perfect meals everyday and thinking I was the only one with kitchen disasters. Roasted cauliflower (with a slight char) is absolutely delishus! 🙂

  2. May 11, 2010 2:36 pm

    So glad you enjoyed, Azmina! Oh man. If you want non-perfect meals, you have come to the right place 🙂

    I HAVE had slightly charred–nay “caramelized”?–cauliflower, but had totally forgotten about it. It is wonderful. At a cooking class I took over the winter, we cut it into slabs instead of florets, so there was more contact between the veg and the pan and thus more slight char. And we served it with salsa verde (olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and a jalepeno, I think). I thought I wouldn’t like it, and then, all of a sudden, I had eaten half a head of cauliflower.


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