Carrots, Roman Style
The Savory Way by Deborah Madison
Although this dish derives from chronicles of Ancient Rome, it is rather contemporary in feeling. Its method is straightforward, the herbal flavorings are clear yet surprising, and the vinegar both sharpens the flavor and leaves the carrots with a firm texture. I have omitted the fermented fish paste that was so frequently used by the Ancient Romans, but one could include an anchovy, finely chopped or pounded and added to the liquids at the beginning.
Makes 2 servings
- 1/2 pound carrots
- 8 small mint leaves
- 1 lovage leaf, if available or several pale inner leaves of celery
- 2 teaspoons virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
- freshly ground pepper
- finely chopped mint or lovage leaves, for garnish
Scrape the carrots and slice them into pieces 2 to 3 inches long. Cut each piece lengthwise into quarters or, if the carrots are very large, into sixths or eighths. All the pieces should be approximately the same size. Tear or chop the herbs.
Warm the oil with the cumin seeds and green herbs for a few moments to bring out their fragrances; then add the carrots and toss them in the oil. Add a few pinches of salt, the water, and the vinegar; bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes. By this time the liquid should have reduced to almost nothing, leaving the carrots nicely glazed. If the pan becomes dry before the carrots are done, add more water in l/4- or 1/2-cup increments until they are sufficiently tender. When done, season with pepper and serve with a garnish of fresh herbs.
Leftover carrots are good eaten cold, as a vegetable condiment or salad.
Excerpted from THE SAVORY WAY by Deborah Madison Copyright© 1998 by Deborah Madison. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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