Waterless Cooked Carrots

This comes from Richard Grausman's book “At Home With the French Classics”. Workman Publishing, New York, 1988.

He makes an interesting observation about vegetable cooking:

“Over the past 10 or 12 years the style of preparing vegetables has gravitated toward the undercooked, with many cooks going to the extreme of serving them almost raw. I enjoy both raw and cooked vegetables, but rarely have I liked those caught somewhere in between, where they have the virtues of neither. For me a perfectly cooked vegetable is one that you feel on your teeth but do not hear while eating.”

  1. Slice, dice or julienne the carrots, and place with the butter in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over very low heat. The carrots will slowly steam in their own moisture. Shake the pan from time to time. To check the correct amount of heat, lift the lid and have a peek after 10 minutes. You should see steam and only barely hear the carrots cooking. If there is no steam, increase the heat. If you hear sizzling or boiling, reduce the heat. As the carrots cook, you will notice a combination of water and butter at the bottom of the pan.

  2. Cook until the carrots are tender. Depending on their size, this will take 15 to 40 minutes. Remove the lid and increase the heat if necessary to allow any residual moisture to evaporate quickly. There should be just a little clear butter at the bottom of the pan.

  3. Gently toss the carrots to coat with the butter. If you are not ready to serve the carrots, or if you are preparing them in advance, remove from the heat. Reheat before serving over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.


Variations

Carrotes au Gingembre (Carrots with Ginger): Add one teaspoon (or more to taste) of chopped or grated ginger to the carrots while cooking, and sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander instead of parsley.

Carrotes Glacées au Madère (Glazed carrots with Madeira): Add two tablespoons of Madeira when reheating the carrots. When all the liquid has evaporated the carrots become glazed with the Madeira.

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