It appeared mysteriously spartan on the menu at Coi, Daniel Patterson's ashram for food in San Francisco's North Beach: "Carrots/Coffee." What did it mean? It turned out to be genius--sweet, smoky, and earthy genius. Pencil-thin carrots are baked on a bed of coffee beans that warm gently, releasing their oils. This unexpected dish celebrates all the advantages of slow cooking: the coffee fumes gradually infuse the vegetables, creating an ephemeral sensation of something roasted that one can identify as "coffee" only after the tongue whispers to the brain.
1 lb/455 g thin carrots (no thicker than 1/2 in/12 mm in diameter), peeled
1 tsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
Coarse sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup/90 g medium-roast coffee beans, preferably decaf
Preheat the oven to 225°F/110°C/gas 1/4. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat to heat for about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the carrots, olive oil, and garlic and toss until the carrots are slicked with oil and the garlic bits are distributed evenly. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Add the coffee beans to the hot skillet and remove from heat. Shake until the coffee is aromatic and the beans look a bit oily, about 3 minutes. Scatter the carrots over the beans in a single layer and cover the pan with a lid or a sheet of heavy-duty alumi¬num foil. Bake until the carrots are fork-tender and infused with coffee oil, 2 to 3 hours.
Lift the carrots from the bed of coffee beans and serve immediately. Discard the coffee.
Store: for up to 3 days, covered in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in a low oven.
From Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More by Andrew Schloss, Chronicle Books, 2013.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. And, when you donate, you'll become a member of The Splendid Table Co-op. It's a community of like-minded individuals who love good food, good conversation and kitchen companionship. Splendid Table Co-op members will get exclusive content each month and have special opportunities for connecting with The Splendid Table team.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table and you'll be welcomed into The Splendid Table Co-op.