Foodis Operandi: Roots!
Carrot Chips I can make a carrot lover out of anyone, including children. Let’s first start with an interesting carrot. You know, like a purple or a yellow one; they come in so many colors, let’s switch things up a little bit. The farmers market in McCarren Park usually has a nice choice of colors for carrots. For this recipe, I chose the yellow ones, which can also have shades of green towards the ends. Here’s what you need:
- 1 lb of carrots, washed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon each salt & pepper
- 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
Don’t peel the carrots; it won’t affect its appeal once we’re done (pum-dum). Cut the hard ends off the carrots. Cut the carrots lengthwise with a long, sharp knife about 1/16th of an inch or like the thickness of corrugated cardboard. Put them in a large bowl and drizzle half the olive oil on top. Stir with a fork or your hand. Then add the rest of the oil. You want to make sure they’re well coated on all sides. Add salt & pepper while mixing to get it evenly coated. Now you’re going to want to place all the pieces in one layer on a baking pan. Ideally you have a silicone-baking sheet: these things are amazing, safe & you will never have to scrape a baking sheet for the rest of your life. If not, brush some extra oil on the pan, but not too much. Try not to overlap or have pieces touching.
Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Check them after half an hour; you want them crispy, but not burnt.
Now place these carrot chips on a dish, sprinkle the grated cheese and add a dollop of mayo on the side. Honestly, they are perfectly good without the dairy ingredients, but if you’re trying to convince someone that carrots can be as tasty, try this recipe in full.
Truffled Celeriac Fries
Celeriac, celery root, knob celery, there are many names for this bulbous root vegetable. You don’t need to go to the farmer’s market for this; they have them at Met Foods, too. They look like brains about the size of a softball. You might have passed over them many times because you had no idea what to do with them, but I’m here to rock your root world. It’s the same basic instructions for the carrot chips above.
Slice them, oil them and put on a baking sheet. But this time around cut them up about the same size and shape as McDonald’s French Fries and use truffle salt. If you’re new to this variation of salt, it’s usually a naturally dried sea salt combined with finely ground truffle mushrooms. It does usually cost about $15 for a jar, but it lasts for while and it’s worth it. I use this stuff liberally with my roots; pepper isn’t really needed for this recipe. But seriously, use about four or five big pinches of the truffle salt on one head of celery root. Bake them until they are browned and have shrunk some. People eat these things up without even knowing what they are. Hey you’re eating celery root! I’m eating what? Exactly. You don’t even need a condiment for these amazing root fries.
Okay, so you got a bunch of radishes in your CSA and you’re not sure what to do with them, besides making pretty garnishes. They can make a nice addition to your salad or a salsa recipe, crunch factor being a big part of it. You can also shred them and add to coleslaw, but it’s really hard finding them delicious on their own. Until now. An idea I got from Kate Payne via an Instagram conversation. Here’s what you need:
- A handful of radishes, sliced in wedges, about 8 wedges per piece
- 1/2 tablespoon room temperature butter
- A pinch of sea salt
Cut those radishes up, mix them with melted butter and sprinkle the salt on top. That’s it. It’s simple, fresh and I’m pretty sure still healthy. Enjoy! Bet people who would normally never eat a radish on its own that they are no longer to intense to eat this way. You can also do the same thing, but sauté them in a pan. You will lose some of the crispiness, but the taste will still be quite good. Don’t forget, no pepper needed here, since they’re naturally a peppery root.
Final thoughts are that there’s a bunch of root vegetables out there that taste really good if you add some salt & olive oil and bake the crap out of them. Even with added salt, these versions are still ten times better for you than any deep fried, mass-produced bag of fries out there and it’s easy enough to do while working on the main dish.