Standard carrots get a flavorful punch
Taste of Norway Editor
December is my favorite time of the year to spend in the kitchen. From all the Christmas cookies I churn out with my kids to the meals that my husband I cook for the family and for guests, everything seems laced with a touch of something special. That said, I appreciate easy ways to elevate a standard dish into something worthy of a celebration. And that’s where these roasted carrots come in.
The holiday carrots that linger in my childhood memories were simply steamed and dusted with a garnish of finely chopped curly-leaf parsley. There was nothing wrong with them—Grandma was an excellent cook, after all. But the carrots were the plainest element of a traditional Norwegian Christmas feast that was otherwise grand with roast pork, fatty spiced medisterkaker (meatballs), various Scandinavian sausages, vinegary surkål (sauerkraut) with a hint of apple and caraway, and the requisite potatoes.
When it comes to vegetables—especially roots—I usually prefer roasting over other means of cooking, as the flavors deepen and become sweeter when vegetables are bathed in olive oil and salt in a hot oven. For a typical weeknight meal, I’ll leave it at that. But this is the Christmas season, and even the side dishes that should be understated to allow the main dish to shine deserve to be dressed up a bit. But I promise you, this recipe will require almost no more active time to prepare than my grandma’s simply steamed carrots. With just a couple of extra ingredients added to the carrots before sliding them into the oven, they’re richly flavorful. The garnish of parsley is still there—a nod to my late grandma—along with sliced almonds.
With the minimal effort required, you’ll hopefully have plenty of time to sit back and enjoy a few sips of gløgg and a pepperkake before company arrives. (Oh and if you need a recipe for either of those, you can find those and many other recipes over on my Scandinavian food blog, Outside Oslo: www.outside-oslo.com.)
Simple Citrus-Roasted Carrots with Parsley and Almonds
1¼ lbs. carrots
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
½ tsp. ground coriander
2 tbsps. sliced almonds
2 tbsps. chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice the carrots in half lengthwise (peel them if they’re thick and woody), and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and add the orange zest, salt, and coriander, then, using your hands, toss to coat. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes depending on the size of the carrots—I check them after 10 minutes, turning them at this point and again after another five or so minutes.
Transfer to a serving dish and scatter the almonds and parsley on top. Serves 4.
Daytona Strong is The Norwegian American’s Taste of Norway Editor. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo), Twitter (@daytonastrong), Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).
This article originally appeared in the December 14, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.