Every time I buy an Ottolenghi cookbook, my initial reaction is a feeling of consuming compulsion to cook my way through every page in the dang thing. If you own one, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t own one…well, GET THEE TO A BARNES AND NOBLE.
He’s now going on seven cookbooks, each with 100+ recipes, so you can guess how well that’s going. I was doing okay with the Plentys until a certain child came along, initially wreaking havoc on my tastebuds while still in utero, and then on my cook/work/life balance once evacuated. Let’s just say that “easy, weeknight, toddler-friendly” recipes are not his forte.
That is, until his latest cookbook, Simple, came into being. It at least conquers the first two criteria. Toddler tastebuds are a force to be reckoned with, not to be overcome by any cookbook author, even one so great as Ottolenghi and I just can’t fault him for that.
This recipe for roasted carrots was one of my recent attempts to cook my way through everything the man has ever created and it may also qualify as the easiest side dish I’ve ever made. It took me less than 5 minutes to peel and cut the carrots, 1 minute to toss them with the spices, and 30 seconds to get them in the oven. They then roasted away for 20 minutes, which left me ample time to discover that my child had peed on the couch in the SIX MINUTES that I had left her to her own devices.
My consolation prize was these spicy-sweet caramelized carrot batons that, when accompanied by juicy pomegranate arils, are excellent. We ate them alongside another recipe from the cookbook that I can’t even bring myself to mention because these just stole the show.
They even made up for the couch pee. Really.
- 1¾ lb carrots, peeled and cut into thin batons
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tbsp rose harissa
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Heat oven to 450F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, butter, harissa, cumin, and honey, along with 1 tsp kosher salt. Add the carrots to the bowl and toss well to combine. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until starting to caramelize and become tender.
- Remove from the oven to cool slightly. Before serving, toss again with the lemon juice and pomegranate seeds. Serve warm.