Wild carrot is up, one of the last wildflowers we’ll see in the Midwest. The flavor is nice and carrot tasting, but it’s delicate, subtle, too many other things in a dish will overpower it. Most of the time I just sprinkle the flowers and seeds on simple things, raw, unadulterated.
A couple weeks ago I tried the wild carrot flowers and seeds with some carrots cooked in carrot juice-one of my favorite preparations for the ubiquitous orange root. I liked it so much I’m putting it on the menu this week at the restaurant while the flowers are at their peak.
It’s a study in a vegetable, and a lesson in layering flavors. Of course, you won’t want to use the same method with just any vegetable (juicing eggplant sounds pretty bad) but you can apply the same technique to a couple of different things, at the top of the list is beets, which brings me to a dish I had that was partly the inspiration for this.
At Saison in San Francisco, I ate a whole baby beet that had been dried over a wood fire for three days, then cooked in beet juice and served whole, topped with whipped bone marrow and pickled elderberries. The garnishes were fun, but the concentrated beet flavor, that was from the beyond. From there I started applying the “cooking stuff in it’s own juice” method to other things, and, here we are.
Even if you don’t pick carrot flowers, bookmark the recipe and try it out sometime, you’ll be amazed at how carrot-y it tastes, and it’ll be fun to bring out the next time your craving some glazed carrots. When you throw the flowers sand seeds into the mix, to me it’s like eating a carrot’s soul.
Carrots Glazed in Carrot Juice, with Wild Carrot Flowers and Seeds
Make sure to read the label of the carrot juice you by, there are a lot of blends and funky stuff in some of them. You want pure carrot juice, not carrot-orange, carrot-apple, etc.
- 2 cups carrot juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Wild carrot flowers and seeds, for garish
- 4 cups 1/2 inch sliced carrots
- Dash of fresh lemon juice
Put the carrots in a wide pan and cover with the carrot juice and pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cook until the carrots are just tender and the liquid in the pan is reduced by 3/4. Add the butter to the pan and stir, swirling the pan to emulsify the butter and make a thick glaze, season with the dash of lemon juice. Season the carrots to taste with salt, then transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with the carrot flowers and seeds and serve immediately.