CSA Veggie of the Week: Carrots

Photo: Pat Herman

When I say the word ‘carrot,’ what’s the first thought that pops into your head? Quick.

Orange. Long. Bugs Bunny. Healthy.

That last one tends to get people, steering them away from rather than toward the vegetable. As far as snack items go, carrots are, nutritionally speaking, healthy. They’re packed with beta-carotene, which can convert into vitamin A, is important for vision, and possesses antioxidant properties. (I’m not making this up; it came from the Mayo Clinic.)

Yet despite their body benefits, carrots can be pretty dull. Sure, they make great hummus scoopers, but frankly, I’m really after the hummus, not the carrot. And though they have a great crunch, sometimes they just don’t cut it. Here’s the thing: Because carrots are sweet, they do work really well in sweet dishes. Think carrot cake.

My family has a great tradition of turning these healthy orange sticks into an absolutely delicious, completely unhealthy soufflé. (The recipe has been passed around so many times we’re not sure where it originated. We do know at one point, it came from the cousin of a very good family friend. Chalk it up to family lore.) Anyway, combine about a pound of carrots, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup of sugar, 3 T flour, 1 tsp each of baking powder and vanilla, 1 stick of melted butter and a dash of cinnamon. (I warned you it wasn’t healthy.) Top it any way you’d like, just make sure the crumble includes some brown sugar and, you guessed it, more butter. Bake at 350 for at least 45 minutes.

If you’re making this for a large group, it’s a recipe that easily doubles or triples. Be warned: It’s pretty rich so each person only needs a spoonful to enjoy the treat.

There are certainly other, good-tasting-yet-slightly-better-for-you ways to eat carrots. Like Curried Carrot Soup from Rachael Ray. I haven’t made it but it really looks tasty. You can also sauté them with a little olive oil, butter, and a touch of sugar (my husband says it helps brown the outside). Just be patient with this method because the carrots take awhile to soften. Or, if you’re OK with the veggie not being a dish’s star, cut it up into chunky pieces, then toss it with onion and potato into a roasting pan. Top with your meat of preference and let it all soak for hours.

Here are a few other recipe options to use up your carrot bunch:

Carrots with Shallots, Sage, and Thyme, Gourmet
Curried Carrot Soup, Rachael Ray
Moroccan Halibut and Carrots, Bon Appétit
Curried Lentil, Rice, and Carrot Burgers, The New York Times
Lasagna With Roasted Eggplant, Mushrooms and Carrots, The New York Times

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