"Faites simple." (Make it simple)
~ Auguste Escoffier
I really believe that I'd be hard pressed to find anyone that didn't agree in that often keeping things simple is the best way to go, and not just with cooking but with most things. Though this time I am speaking of cooking. I made these carrots as a side dish tonight with pasta and chicken cacciatore. The carrots, I think, were the best part of the meal...braised and basted in olive oil with onion, garlic, and hot pepper. Here's the recipe...
Braised Baby Carrots
This is so simple and it can be done with nearly any vegetable. But the reason it works especially well with carrots is that they are a hard vegetable and they are also naturally sweet. So when you cook them with the onions, garlic, and hot pepper, they begin to caramelize and the end result is sort of sweet and spicy. Anyhow, this is how to prepare them:
Cut the tops off the carrots and peel them; discard or compost the tops and peels. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and shake the pan a little to coat them with the oil. Lower the heat and cover the pan and cook the carrots for a few minutes. Then remove the lid and add a small sliced or diced onion. Cover the pan and cook a few more minutes. Then remove the lid and add a clove or two of minced garlic, as much crushed hot pepper as you'd like, and a pinch of kosher salt. With the pan uncovered, continue to cook the carrots along with the other ingredients, taking care not to burn the garlic. If the onions and garlic brown too quickly, add a couple tablespoons of water to the pan. Then cook the carrots until the water evaporates. The dish is complete when the carrots are soft and flavorful. The entire process will take about 10 minutes.