As 225 food writer Maggie Heyn Richardson puts it, carrots used to be served just two ways: raw, sliced and served on a green salad, or cut into chunks and boiled to hospital food mush. She loved the former, but despised the latter. And so for years, Maggie figured all forms of cooked carrots were, well, just gross.
Then along came roasting, or at least along came her discovery of it. Roasting any vegetable is one of the greatest ways to bring out its earthy sweetness, but roasting carrots is especially effective. Carrots go from being a pleasantly flavorful raw snack, to being a deeply sweet and elegant veggie side dish.
There is, however, a trick to getting roasted carrots right. Undercook them, and the texture is tough and dense. Overcook them, and they’re dry and wrinkled. The secret is to soften the carrots slightly by boiling them briefly before roasting. The texture will be firm-tender with just the right amount of caramelization on the outside.
Read on for Maggie’s recipe for Roasted Fresh Carrots and Fennel, which originally appeared in a February 2019 edition of 225 Dine.