Carrots and honey are a classic combination and here we are giving it a little Italian bent with the addition of parmesan. Early summer is a great time for baby vegetables and the sauce from this recipe also works really well with baby beetroots. It’s the earthiness of the root vegetables that combine so well with the slightly rich, sweet, tangy, herby sauce. Use a mixture of heirloom carrots to work in some more pretty colours and different textures.
- 500 g mixture of baby and heirloom carrots, peeled with a little of the tops left on
- 4 sprigs thyme
- olive oil for cooking
- river salt and black pepper
- 30 g shaved parmesan
For the sauce
- a generous splash of olive oil
- 5 large eschallots, finely sliced
- 5 medium cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 50 g honey
- 50 g butter
- 20 ml lemon juice
- river salt and black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish or antipasti
Separate your carrots into their different colours and have a little look at any size variations. I prefer to keep my carrots whole but you may need to cut some in half (on an angle please) depending on their size. You want to end up with lots of different carrots with a similar size.
Place each lot of carrots into a mixing bowl, add a little oil, lots of seasoning, a sprig of thyme and toss to combine. Lay out on a baking tray as spread out as you can. Repeat as many times as you have types of carrots.
Place the carrots into an oven pre-heated to 200°C. Cook for between 10–15 minutes, the trick here being to cook hot and fast so you get some nice dark colour but still retain a bite of bite. I don’t like soggy carrots.
While your carrots are cooking, hurry along and get your sauce ready.
Warm a medium saucepan over a mild heat, add your olive oil, eschallots, garlic and seasoning and cook gently for about five minutes until they begin to soften. Add the thyme and give it a few more stirs before adding the honey and raising the heat to high.
You want your honey to bubble away for a good few minutes or until you see the colour start to darken and caramelise. At this stage, add in the butter, stir until it’s completely melted before adding the lemon juice and more seasoning if needed. Remove the pan from the heat but keep somewhere warm until the carrots are ready.
Once your carrots are ready, combine them all together on a large platter, spoon over the sauce and cover with the shaved parmesan.
• If you do end up using a combination of heirloom carrots please be aware that all the different colours have slightly different textures and slightly different cooking times. Yellow ones cook a little faster while the purple ones are often a bit woodier and take a little more time.
Photographs by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Runner from Bonnie and Neil.