A few years ago we were playing around in the kitchen with salt-crusted whole fish. We made all sorts of salt crusts, some with herbs, some with scraps of ham. Somewhere along the way, I came up with the idea of cooking vegetables the same way. I remembered having tried a dish in Spain years ago called papas arrugadas, or “wrinkled potatoes,” and I seemed to recall the spuds having been baked in the oven on a bed of salt. This recipe for many-colored carrots and beets takes that idea and then does what I like to do—drops a bunch of flavor into the mix. The spices and herbs make these roots rock out.–Seamus Mullen
LC Roots Redux Note
Read the ingredient list and you’ll see that the requisite veggies are carrots and beets. And they work just dandy, turning almost as sweet as candy, though truth be told, you can easily tweak the ingredients, swapping in potatoes or turnips or just about any root. If using carrots, consider propelling them into author Seamus Mullen’s curiously complex-tasting yet easy-peasy Pickled Carrots.
Salt-Baked Carrots & Beets Recipe
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes | Makes enough to serve 4 as a nice side dish
- 1 pound kosher salt
- Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
- 2 tablespoons pink peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 branches fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bunch (3 or 4) slender carrots, preferably organic, any color, trimmed and scrubbed
- 1 bunch (2 or 3) small beets, trimmed
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
- 2. In a large roasting pan, combine the kosher salt, lemon zest, pink and black peppercorns, rosemary, and thyme, mixing them thoroughly. Nestle the carrots and beets in the salt mixture, covering them completely with the salt. Bake until the veggies are tender throughout, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables.
- 3. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly. Excavate the carrots and beets. Scrape off the skins of the beets with a dish towel or the dull edge of a paring knife. Peel the carrots if you wish, although if you scrubbed them well prior to roasting, you can skip this step. Serve the vegetables hot, warm, or at room temperature or reserve them to use in another recipe calling for out-of-this-world vegetables.
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Salt-Baked Carrots & Beets Recipe © 2012 Seamus Mullen. Photo © 2012 Colin Clark. All rights reserved.