Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Blaising" Ginger-Lime Baby Carrots

Richard Blais is the molecular gastronomist who was on Bravo's Top Chef.  You know, the one who always had to put everything in liquid nitrogen and tweak nature before presenting his dish.  His food always looked amazing.  Then again, he was the winner of Top Chef All Stars.  
Well the folks over at Food & Wine wanted to see if he could kick up it up a notch with a few summer vegetables-- but not too much and sans heavy equipment.   This is what he came up with...
When we got carrots in our CSA share my first thought was to simply pan fry them with a little bit of salt and pepper in some butter.  Then I thought about making a carrot ginger soup.  But after browsing through Food & Wine I thought this sounded more interesting than my other options.  I've always loved the combination of carrots and ginger-- but by adding lime and Sriracha I felt like I definitely kicked it up a notch!  
Here's a little FYI: Sriracha is a sauce that is made from sun ripened chilies which are then grounded with garlic and other seasonings.  The Huy Fong Sriracha is the most common sauce sold in the United States and it's everywhere.  The owner of Huy Fong is natively from Vietnam which is why I always thought the sauce was of Vietnamese origin.  But in fact Sriracha is from Thailand and named for the coastal city of Si Racha where it was first produced.  The traditional Thai sauce is a bit different from the commerically produced Vietnamese ones which are available here, but they use the same basic ingredients.  You can find Sriracha in most supermarkets.   Sorry, that's a long bit about a sauce that only adds 1/4 teaspoon to this recipe...but every now and again it's nice to have a new fun fact!
Anywho, this is a really nice and simple way to prepare baby carrots.  Bon Appetite! 
Ginger-Lime Baby Carrots (Courtesy of Richard Blais for Food & Wine Magazine
Serves 4

24 baby carrots, tops trimmed to 2 inches
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup chicken stock (I used vegetable)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon furikake (see Note)
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the carrots until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the carrots.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the carrots, ginger and cinnamon and cook over moderate heat, tossing occasionally, until the ginger is fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and boil over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool for 30 seconds.  Swirl in the butter, lime juice and Sriracha and season with salt.  Arrange the carrots on a platter and spoon the ginger-lime sauce on top.  (Sprinkle with the furikake and serve.)
NoteFurikake is available at Asian markets and many specialty food stores.  It is a mixture of dried and ground fish, sesame seeds and chopped seaweed.  I added a a few sesame seeds instead of making a pilgrimage to a Japanese market.   I'll probably omit them next time I make this dish... 

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