This simple dish was inspired by our recent trip to Italy. We planned a trip that began in Munich, went through Innsbruck by train, and then hit Venice and Florence—all cities we had never visited. Our first day in Venice, I saw on Facebook that a foodie friend was also in Venice. I messaged her and we made plans to meet at their favorite restaurant for lunch. That morning, we saw amazing vegetables in the market, and I was hungry for them.I loved seeing this soup mix and wished I had time to make a proper soup. This is where I learned what the restaurant’s name, La Zucca, meant (pumpkin).After a 45-minute ride by water bus (vaporetto) up the Grand Canal, we found ourselves in a lovely, quiet, residential neighborhood blessedly free of tour groups.A few twists and turns, and our trusty map led us to the restaurant, where we met Jonelle Galloway, The Rambling Epicure, and her husband.
Since a) they speak fluent Italian and b) they were very familiar with the menu, we asked them to order. All the dishes were phenomenal, including the signature pumpkin soup, the roasted beets, and the leeks baked with taleggio cheese. But for some reason, this carrot dish stayed with me. It was swimming in local olive oil, with just a hint of fresh coriander (which we Americans call cilantro) and lime. I did my best to recreate it for you.
Roasting carrots also has a nutritional benefit. According to nutritionist Jennifer Adler, we can only absorb about 3% of the beta-carotene in raw carrots, but when they’re cooked with quality fat, as they are here, we can absorb 39% of the beta-carotene.
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Roasted carrots with cilantro and lime
- 2 pounds carrots rainbow, organic
- 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1/4 tsp cumin (dried)
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1.4 ounces cilantro stems only, finely chopped (1/2 cup) [fresh coriander]
- 1 limes zested, then squeezed over
- Preheat oven to 450F/230C/gas mark 7.
- Peel the carrots, removing the tops. If you want this to cook faster, cut carrots into uniform slices on the diagonal as shown in the restaurant photograph above.
- Put carrots in a baking dish and pour olive oil over. Add cumin and salt and toss to coat.
- Bake carrots for 15 minutes, then stir and cover with foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
- Baste with the olive oil in the pan every 15 minutes, checking with a fork to test tenderness. Carrots should be very tender and caramelized. Uncover for the last fifteen minutes, sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top, and squeeze the lime over. Whole carrots as pictured took 85 minutes. Cut carrots will take about 45 minutes total.
- Sprinkle the lime zest over the dish just before serving.