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Intensifying the Flavor of Carrots

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Last Friday a few of us went to dinner at a little bistro in Berkeley, a place we'd never been to and which is relatively new on the Berkeley scene. They served "Vietnamese tapas with a French flare." My dish included some carrots, and they were outstanding! I'd never had such deeply flavorful carrots before. Anyone have any suggestions on how to intensify the flavor of carrots? I use only the freshest carrots I can find, and have spent the weekend trying different cooking times and techniques, but haven't come close to the flavor of the ones I had on Friday night. One thing I've not tried is poaching the carrots in fresh carrot juice ... think that might help?

Those Friday carrots were nice and firm, and not roasted at all from what I could tell.

shel
post #2 of 22
Licorice flavor in very small amounts.

Grind a little fennel seed or cook with a little fennel. Anise seed should work too but I've not fiddled with that. Tarragon too, but I find that too strong.

Phil
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 22
Thai? Could they have used fish sauce along with whatever other flavors you tasted. Fish sauce can add a good amount of "umami"
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"...the very genesis of our art."
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post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
I don't think fish sauce was part of the equation, nor do I think some of Phil's suggested ingredients were incorporated into the meal I had. That's not to say your ideas won't work, just that I think something else was involved. Tomorrow I'm getting even fresher carrots from the farmer's market, and will try working with those.

I am. however, convinced that proper cooking plays a part. Having played around with cooking time and some cooking methods, it's clear that some choices produce superior results.

Thanks for the suggestions.

shel
post #5 of 22
local red/orange 5-6" carrots peeled, sliced and blanched in salted water.....
run cold water over to stop cooking....cook to a shade less than you want final product to be.

Saute pan, butter/ olive oil ....mild...., shallot optional, orange zest, orange juice....maybe dillweed....salt and pepper.
make a sauce, dump blanched carrots in the finished sauce, heat all of 30 seconds. Done.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 22
I get a good result by par-boiling them, drain, then back in the pot with a little sugar, black pepper, butter, little chicken stock and simmer for couple minutes.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #7 of 22
Hi shel :)

Today I was watching an episode of A Chef's Story, that I had recorded on the dvr. In this episode Chef Dan Barber talked a little about one of his experiences with carrots. While his "almond dusted" carrots didn't seem to work...he did mention how intensely sweet carrots can be when they are harvested right after cold snap.

I don't know the specifics...but thought that I'd pass it on to you. There are soooo many carrots that I was thinking it may have been a specific type. But maybe it could have been the harvest time.



dan
post #8 of 22
I find a little orange juice brings out the carrots flavor nicely
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Jim ....

shel
post #10 of 22
Saute in reduced carrot juice, mount with Vermont sea salt butter living the dream.
post #11 of 22
I always use butter and sugar with carrots. Simply boil to al dente, strain them and then put them back into the hot pan with a little butter and some sugar. Put a lid on it and give the pan a good shake. Delicious.
post #12 of 22

southwest spiced carrots!

i know that the small cute little carrots with their tops have less flavor than the more mature ones.. something about the sugar content..at my restaurant i first blanch the carrot sticks(cut from large carrots, not culled ones) and then saute them in butter, pureed chipotles in adobo sauce and cinnamon..

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #13 of 22
Ditto that Bazza - they are soooo good done that way
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #14 of 22

"whats up doc"

try roasting unblanched with, honey and turmeric...........


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post #15 of 22
Organic is an absolute must. The difference even in the supermarket is obvious.
Traditionally we have always used a little orange juice. But the main flavour enhancer is mace. It's made to complement carrots.
Bazza has my next favourite idea. I love 'em glazed
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
I only use fresh, organic carrots - usually no more than a few days out of the ground.

Never tried mace - might do so.

shel
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
That sounds good ...

shel
post #18 of 22
It just might be the carrots. I've been buying mine from the same farmers market vendor for the last few weeks and I had the same reaction you did. The flavor is incredible. I usually shy away from raw carrots, I prefer cooked, but these are so good I've been juicing them and making carrot salads. Buy a couple kinds this week at the market and see if you get the same results.
post #19 of 22

Intensifying the flavour of carrots.

Shel,

Has it not occured to you to ask the guy who cooked them?
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Of course it did - unfortunately, I've not been able to contact her . Regardless, asking questions here, even simple questions, often generates discussions and brings forth new and interesting ideas. I always ask here, even if answers are available elsewhere.

scb
post #21 of 22
Give this a try: if your cooking the carrots in water...whatever amount of salt you put in, add 1/2 as much sugar. (i.e. 1 tea. salt + 1/2 tea/. sugar). Let us know what you've discovered.
;)
post #22 of 22
I used to cook my carrots by braising them in water,wine and butter. I cooked them down slowly until ready. I have now discarded this recipe for the simplest and most flavourful carrot recipe yet.

Place the carrots in a pan add a generous amount of butter. Salt and pepper to taste and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes shaking the pan so they don't burn and viola you have the best roasted carrots of all time.
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