Easter is just a little less than a week, and I am getting lots of questions about planning an Easter menu. When planning any holiday menu, each course shipped flow from one to the next and have complimentary flavors. Holiday side dishes are also important, and should reflect the season as well be complimentary to the main course to which it is supporting. I find that carrots, green beans, and asparagus are great spring sides, and all three pair well with roast lamb or ham, typical Easter entrees.
Roasting any vegetables brings out a natural sweetness as it caramelizes the natural sugar within the vegetable. Roasted carrots have become a personal favorite of mine, and when I came across these red carrots with bright orange centers at our local organic farmer, I couldn’t resist buying them. To make these carrots extra special for a holiday meal, I drizzled the carrots with a vibrantly flavored parsley pesto as soon as the carrots come out of the oven. Although I prefer these carrots served warm, they are just as tasty served at room temperature. To toast your almonds, spread them out on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F. preheated oven for about 7 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Deborah Mele 2016
Caramelized Roasted Carrots With Parsley Almond Pesto
- 2 Pounds Organic Carrots, Scrubbed & Ends Trimmed
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper To Taste
Parsley Almond Pesto:
- 1 Small Bunch Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, Leaves Only
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
- 1/4 Cup Lightly Toasted Almonds (See Notes Above)
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons Lightly Toasted Sliced Almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the carrots in half lengthwise, then toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
- Spread the carrots across a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet, cut side up.
- Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the carrots for 20 minutes, then turn over, and bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender.
- While the carrots are roasting, place the parsley leaves, garlic, lemon zest, almonds, salt and pepper, and pulse briefly until coarsely chopped.
- Drizzle in just enough oil (about 1/3 cup), and pulse until blended but the mixture still retains texture.
- Arrange the carrots onto a platter, then drizzle with the pesto.
- Sprinkle the carrots with the sliced almonds, then serve.