Monday, July 28, 2008

Sweet roasted carrots and a goat cheese frittata...

Jeff and I snack on carrots quite a bit (usually with some sort of dip), but don't have them often enough as an actual side dish at dinner. I was trying to come up with something easy to serve with the main portion of our meal tonight and decided on these Roasted Carrots with Honey.

We drizzled chunky sticks of peeled carrots with olive oil and seasoned them simply with salt and fresh ground black pepper. If you find that your carrots are especially thick, you'll want to halve them so all of the pieces cook in the same amount of time. The bright orange sticks are then roasted at a high temperature, allowing them to turn tender enough to bite through, but not so much that they are mushy. To accentuate their sweet quality, we took a dollop out of our favorite jar of fragrant orange blossom honey and let it drip down over the warm caramelized carrots.

I know a tablespoon worth of honey might not seem like much to a pound and a half of carrots, but as the sticky syrup hits the hot pan, it thins out to give each tender piece a shiny coating. With five ingredients in total, this snazzy side could be served with a variety of different main dishes and would be a good way to lure those picky eaters to try out this vegetable with its hint of sweetness.

Along with those roasted carrots, I prepared this Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Leek Frittata for tonight's dinner. Rather than using completely whole eggs for this dish, I used a combination of whole eggs that I cut with egg whites. Whenever I do this type of substitution, I always like to remain heavy on the whole eggs as their yolks give needed richness - I find that if it sways the other way, the end result is a little more spongy and a little too light. To loosen the egg mixture up, we whisked them together with just a few tablespoons of milk.

I used a large skillet, about 12" in size, to melt the butter we used to soften the leeks. If you've never worked with leeks before, you'll only want to use the bottom white and light green portions - the darker leaves are quite tough (though, how about saving them them for a batch of stock?) and shouldn't be used here. Because they grow in sandy soil, leeks can also hide a lot of grit in between their layers, so be sure to rinse them well before using them. Once the leeks were soft, we stirred sliced salty prosciutto, fresh chopped basil leaves and a handful of creamy crumbled goat cheese into the bowl of whisked eggs.

Once poured into the skillet, we kept the eggs movin' with a spatula until most of the liquid had turned into curds, yet the eggs were still wet. At this point, you'll want to smooth those curds out into an even layer and let the bottom reform a crust - we then scattered a bit more goat cheese on top and slipped the frittata under the broiler just long enough to set the center of the eggs and give a light golden finish on top. If you want to test for doneness, stick a knife into the center - it should come out clean, but the hole left behind should be slightly wet as the frittata will continue to firm up as it cools.

Even though Jeff sat at the island and watched me prepare this (and didn't say anything!), he confessed after a few bites that he was afraid this was going to be pretty bland because the volume of the rest of the ingredients compared to the eggs and egg whites didn't seem to be enough. However, he was quite surprised that those few ingredients could end up adding so much flavor! If you are using a good quality prosciutto, you don't need much to give that salty depth and a little bit of goat cheese goes a long way when crumbled and layered as in this dish. The basil gave a needed pop of freshness while the leeks added a mild onion-y flavor that complimented the dish well. I put six servings on this, but we ended up with more like four as we both couldn't resist going back for another wedge!


  1. You completely had me at goat cheese. Yum.

  2. Those carrots and frittata look pretty....a healthy meal there!

  3. Greenleaf1I'm having another lightbulb moment here. Roasted carrots! They look incredibly yummy. And I never thought to do this! A small concern, and someone in the office mentioned it too - the olive oil. It didn't clash with the honey?


  4. those both looked great to me. great blog, by the way. keep 'em coming!

  5. Laura - hee hee!

    Poonam - Thanks!

    Quinn - Not at all! Our olive oil wasn't especially pungent though. It worked quite well.

    Burkie - Thanks!

  6. Those carrots look terrific. And that frittata ... YUM! I love all things eggs!