I recently saw baby carrots at a farmer’s market and literally fell in love. How can you possibly not adore those immature orange roots with a generous amount of shapely leaves (almost like baby mizuna) attached to them. Though my fascination for these was purely based on how exquisite they looked (great veggie for some gourmet presentation must say), I was quite intrigued to find out how these tiny roots were grown. With almost no time in hand that afternoon, I quickly picked up some organic goodies from the Krishi Kress farmer’s (managed and owned by friend-chef-farmer-entrepreneur and culinary extraordinaire Achintya Anand) market, and left, later regretting the lack of my “veggie nerd” conversations with Achintya.
But soon I figured that baby carrots are grown exactly the same way other carrots are grown, though harvested when immature. But what you have to stay away from are “baby-cut “ carrots (I call them the “marketing carrots”). They are cut from a special type of carrot variety that grows slim and tender, and were invented by carrot farmer Mike Yousek, in California ’86 to avoid wastage of his not-so-pretty carrot produce. Today you often find supermarkets selling packaged baby-cut carrots, making them convenient to eat, healthy and a trending commodity for modern day consumers.
I used the carrot leaves to make a yummy pesto (believe it or not, carrot leaves taste exactly like carrots so don’t bother throwing them away!), and the tiny carrots to make an instant dish, or rather a side using the sticky and sweet balsamic and honey glaze. These carrots were heavenly; just the right kinda sweet and crunchy pairing like magic with honey. I gobbled these dudes with whole-wheat spaghetti and my carrot leaves + cashew pesto; ‘twas a good vegan and plant based lunch after all!
Balsamic and honey glazed baby carrots
500 grams baby carrots, peeled and leaves removed
1-tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1-tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1-teaspoon white pepper
Sea salt to taste
Heat oil in a medium pan, add the pressed garlic cloves and cook till fragrant. Now throw in the carrots; stir-fry on medium heat for five to six minutes until the carrots are cooked and darkened in colour.
In a small bowl mix together balsamic vinegar + honey + white pepper. Add this sticky honey mix to the carrots. Stir well and remove from heat.
Serve as a side or an addictive appetizer!