Carrot. With your frothy greens and your vivid root you should be queen but are, instead, the perfect handmaiden. You are loved by all, for without your wispy grated strands Jello would be simply shaky, without your chunks, stew a sham, without your ever-present economy, the restaurant plate a naked wasteland.
How We Ignore; How We Adore
Oh carrot, how we adore and how we ignore you. For loved you may be, but not revered. Reverence is shown instead for your wan cousin the parsnip, the knobby, gnarled Jerusalem artichoke, the turnip and the root of parsley. Those, now those are root vegetables, hard-to-get and wantonly desired. A celery root is exotic next to you, oh common carrot; even a waxy, orange and purple rutabaga which, alongside your vivid flesh murmurs pale and half asleep, is vaunted and honored. Yet it is you, my carrot my heart, which has never withheld. Mashed to appease the newborn and the aged, toddler’s pacifier, sweetener on the Pioneer trail, martial of the Victory Garden, you’ve always been exactly where you’re needed.
Replace the Sun
You do, in fact, replace the sun. Why, anyone who whirs you up and drinks your juice is soon as golden as the rays can turn you, without the sand and suffering. You hug the herbs, hold the tiny cumin, juniper, coriander, and peppercorns in your sweet embrace. Curry is your friend, coconut milk the pool in which you love to swim. Honey and brown sugar, yes these you hold dear as you rush to fill the void, do the job, ease the way as quietly as Maude or Jeeves.
Lovely carrot, you don’t complain. Brought home from market, soil clinging to you damp and thick, you sit and wait for weeks and weeks if necessary, unmindful of the chill, holding in the sweet crunch which will, in time, give way to soup or salad, curl or lozenge, lovely orange brilliant hue to charm, seduce, deliver.
Stuff of Dreams
You are the stuff of dreams, I’m sure, to all your fellow roots who get the glory but feel inferior. Surely, for you are the certain value, the one to come home to, the faithful, all enduring. Oh carrot, your generosity is unfailing and we thank you for your wisps, your veering into yellows, reds, purples and russets, your sugar, your salt, your marriages all successful. For no one but you, sweet carrot, remains faithful yet so richly indiscriminate.
- 8 medium-sized carrots either peeled or rubbed clean, trimmed
- 6 to 8 tablespoons;90-120g ghee or unsalted butter
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Carrot greens – optional garnish
- Bring 4 cups;1 liter water to a boil in the bottom of a steamer. Place the carrots in the steamer, cover, and steam until they are completely tender through, which will take 35 to 40 minutes.
- When the carrots are steamed, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and when it is frothing, add the carrots and cook, rolling the pan, until they are golden on the outside, which will take 8 to 10 minutes. If the carrots aren’t browning, increase the heat slightly until they begin to brown, then roll them gently so they brown all over being careful not to burn the butter, seasoning them as you do with salt and pepper. If it is getting dark, lift the pan from the heat to cool slightly.
- Transfer the carrots to a serving platter, or serve them as a side dish with meat, poultry, or fish. Spoon a tablespoon or so of the butter over the carrots, garnish them with carrot greens, and serve.