Valley Fig Growers

Slow-Cooked Whole Carrots with Green Olive and California Fig Relish

We prefer to make this recipe with California Golden Figs, but dark purple California Mission Figs can be substituted.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

3 cups water

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

12 carrots (1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds), peeled

 

Relish:

1/2 cup dried Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice Golden California Figs, stemmed and chopped fine

1 tablespoon water

½ cup chopped green olives

1 minced shallot

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

½ teaspoon ground fennel

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

1. Cut parchment paper into 11-inch circle, then cut 1-inch hole in center, folding paper as needed.

2. Bring water, oil, and salt to simmer in 12-inch skillet over high heat. Off heat, add carrots, top with parchment, cover skillet, and let sit for 20 minutes.

3. Uncover, leaving parchment in place, and bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until most of water has evaporated and carrots are very tender, about 45 minutes.

4. Discard parchment, increase heat to medium-high, and cook carrots, shaking skillet often, until lightly glazed and no water remains, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer carrots to serving platter and serve.

5. Microwave figs and water in bowl until hot, about 1 minute; let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in chopped green olives, minced shallot, extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, ground fennel, and kosher salt. Spoon relish over carrots before serving.

Why This Recipe Works
For sweet, tender carrots that would be impressive enough for company, we wanted to cook them whole- without the carrots becoming mushy or waterlogged. We first tried simmering them in water, but the tapered shape of the carrots made them cook unevenly and so the thinner ends overcooked by the time the thick ends were tender. Our science editor told us that cooking the carrots at a low temperature first would help them stay consistently firm through the rest of cooking by causing an enzymatic reaction that makes the carrots resistant to breaking down. With this in mind, we let the carrots “steep” off the heat for the first 20 minutes of cooking. We also topped the carrots with a circle of parchment paper during cooking to ensure that the moisture in the pan was evenly distributed. We finished cooking the carrots at a gentle simmer to evaporate the liquid and concentrate the carrots’ flavor so that they tasted great when served on their own or with a flavorful relish. Use carrots that measure ¾ to 1¼ inches across at the thickest end.

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