This is a great way to use up the last 1/4 cup (75 g) of jam often left in the refrigerator. I like apricot the best, but you can use raspberry, blueberry, cherry, or strawberry. Roast the carrots first, then dress and rebrown the carrots with the jam so the jam doesn’t burn beyond the point of pleasantness. Note: If your jam is particularly sweet, add a squeeze of lemon over the whole thing to tart it up.

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 carrots (3 lb | 1.4 kg), scrubbed and cut into large chunks or left whole
  • Neutral oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) almonds
  • 1/4 cup (75 g) apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chili oil (RECIPE FOLLOWS)
  • 10 sprigs mint and/or cilantro, leaves picked off and torn roughly

Directions

Heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Toss the carrots with a glug of neutral oil and big pinch of salt.

Spread on a baking sheet, leaving some space between the carrots so they don’t steam, and roast in the oven until fully cooked, about 35 minutes.

When the carrots are golden brown, crispy, and tender, spread the almonds on the baking sheet and return to the oven to toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together the jam and chili oil. Toss the carrots with the jam mixture and return to the oven to crisp, for 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer the carrots to a serving platter and scatter with the mint and almonds.

CHILI OIL

You can make this more complicated by adding other spices, like star anise, citrus peel, and other peppers, but I find the most basic form works well for me and is so easy to make that I will whip it up at the last minute. It also lasts for ages so there is no reason to not make a double or triple batch.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (480 ml) neutral oil
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) chili flakes
  • 1 tsp (6 g) salt

Directions

Heat 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the oil until it shimmers. Remove from the heat and add the chili flakes and salt. Let sit until fragrant, about 3 minutes, then add the rest of the oil to cool it and keep the pepper flakes from burning. Let cool and store in a jar on the counter. It will get more nuanced as it ages.


Ruffage Book CoverRuffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables
by Abra Berens

VARIATIONS

With cherry tomatoes, parsley + tuna mayo

  • 10 to 12 carrots (3 lb | 1.4 kg), scrubbed and cut into long batons
  • 1 qt (1 lb | 450 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 bunch parsley (1.2 oz | 32 g), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (240 g) tuna mayo (RECIPE FOLLOWS)

Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and roast the carrots. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and parsley. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the tuna mayo.

TUNA MAYO

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 1 5-oz (150-g) can tuna in oil
  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) neutral oil

In a food processor, whiz the egg, salt, and vinegar until well blended. Slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture is thick. If it is too thin, add more oil. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

With basil oil + sunflower seeds

  • 10 to 12 carrots (3 lb | 1.4 kg) of various colors, scrubbed and cut into long batons
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) basil oil (RECIPE FOLLOWS)
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) sunflower seeds

Roast the carrots and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with the basil oil, and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds.

BASIL OIL

This is a good way to add an herby flavor when you don’t have any fresh basil in the house. Basil will sometimes go black if gets too hot in blending (often the case with a lower-powered blender). If you’ve had trouble with this before you start blending give the basil a 3-second dip in boiling water. This quick blanch will help preserve the color. Sadly, there is no way to regreen blackened basil. I generally use blackened basil in something where it won’t show, like ravioli filling or in stuffed tomatoes.

  • 1 bunch basil (2.4 oz | 1 1/2 cups | 68 g), stems included
  • 1 tsp (6 g) salt
  • 2 cups (480 ml) neutral oil

Roughly chop the basil. Put the herbs in a blender with the salt and half the oil. Blend until fairly smooth, then add the rest of the oil and blend.

With goat cheese, dill + garlic bread crumbs

  • 10 to 12 carrots (3 lb | 1.4 kg) of various colors, scrubbed and cut into long batons
  • 4 oz (115 g) fresh goat cheese
  • 5 sprigs dill, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) garlic bread crumbs (RECIPE FOLLOWS)

Roast the carrots and transfer to a serving platter. Dot with goat cheese and dill, and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

GARLIC BREAD CRUMBS

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) neutral oil
  • 4 garlic cloves (28 g), minced
  • 1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
  • 1 cup (140 g) bread crumbs or panko

In a large frying pan, heat the oil until shimmering hot and add the garlic and salt. Remove from the heat so the garlic doesn’t burn, and let sit for 10 minutes (or cook the garlic on low for 5 minutes, keeping a sharp eye out to prevent burning). Add the bread crumbs and stir to combine. Return to the heat and toast the oily bread crumbs until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container and sprinkle on any and all savory dishes.

I often use the oil left from garlic confit to make these. Simply replace the neutral oil with the garlic oil and skip the garlic cloves, unless you want a stronger garlic flavor.

Reprinted from Ruffage by Abra Berens with permission by Chronicle Books, 2019