Roasted Carrots with Currant Relish

‘Tis the Season but somehow it doesn’t have the normal pizzazz it usually has. The Promenade was kind of low-key. The stores weren’t crowded. The bookstore had some folks in it but it wasn’t crazy. Main Street and Abbot Kinney were a little pokey. Not overwhelmed with parties. It’s just a weird year. Perhaps something to do with the election and fear and sadness and anxiety and fatigue? Just not festive. Notwithstanding, we have had a nice pre-holiday period. Although it’s not usual to make a new friend at our advancing ages, we somehow did. Marianne Kooimans and her husband Steven Woods and amazing daughter Oona Woods. The family of the wonderful shop on Main Street (previously on Abbot Kinney) called Koko. Marianne designs the fabrics and clothes and shoes that are made in Cambodia with gorgeous silks and such. It’s always uplifting to wander in that shop. Anyway, the family Koko moved to Portugal earlier this year and Marianne was en route to her new home following a work trip to Cambodia and she stayed with us. She’s great to have around and fun to talk to, smart, and funny and so stylish! We were so happy to have her here and of course she became my food taster for the past week or so and she introduced us to a wonderful Lebanese restaurant on Westwood Blvd, called Sunnin.

These carrots got high marks from both Marianne and Alan and I thought you might enjoy them!

Roasted Carrots with Currant Relish (from The Mozza Cookbook) preheat oven to 450°

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First, make Currant and Pine Nut Relish (Makes about one cup relish)

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Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup medium-diced red onion

1 dried arbol chile

1 small fresh rosemary sprig

½ tsp salt, plus more to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup dried currants

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

Directions:

Warm the olive oil in a small pan over medium-high heat, add the onion, chile, and rosemary, and season with salt. Sauté, stirring often to prevent the onion from browning – about 5 minutes until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly so it doesn’t brown.

Meanwhile, place the currants in a small saucepan. Add the vinegar, making sure there is enough to cover the currants. If not, add more balsamic. Bring the vinegar to a simmer over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until the currants are soft and plump. Add the currant/vinegar mixture to the sauté pan with the onion. If the relish is runny, simmer until the balsamic is reduced. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Remove and discard the rosemary and arbol chile and stir in the pine nuts just before serving so they don’t get mushy.

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

1 pound small to medium carrots with the tops on but clipped to about ½ “ to 1”

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying

1 tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

¼ cup fresh rosemary tufts Maldon sea salt or fleur de sel

¼ cup plus 1 tbsp Currant and Pine Nut relish (above)

Directions:

Scrub or peel the carrots and trim the stems to about ½” to 1”. Put the carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with the 2 Tbsp olive oil and toss until coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the carrots in a single layer (I put parchment paper on the baking sheet). Bake in the preheated oven until golden in spots and tender but not mushy. About 10 to 15 minutes. Maybe shake the pan during cooking so the carrots cook evenly. While the carrots are cooking fry the rosemary. Put 1-inch of olive oil in a small saucepan or skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until a pinch of salt sizzles when dropped in. Add the rosemary and fry for 30 seconds until it is crisp but not brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove it and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt. Strain the oil and save. Rosemary infused olive oil is good for vinaigrette or to drizzle over meat or chicken or veggies.

Remove the carrots from the oven. Spoon ¼ cup of the relish over them and toss gently to distribute the relish. Layer the carrots on a platter or spread them out – whatever looks nice to you. Spoon remaining relish over the carrots and scatter the fried rosemary over and around them. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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