Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saffron Carrots with Grand Marnier

Photo by Sergio Salvador
www.salvadorphoto.com
Carrots are another one of those long-keeping vegetables that lasted our ancestors through the winter. A cool season crop, carrots can be planted in a cold frame in September and are ready to eat in early spring. The cold weather actually makes carrots sweeter! And now is the time to start planting carrots again in your garden. 

Saffron crocus is rumored to grow well in New Mexico, because of our dry climate and late summer rains. The bulbs I planted last fall in a container on my porch have had leaves all winter (they even survived the -10°F cold snap) and hopefully I'll be harvesting the flower stigmas this fall. Here's the best link I've found explaining how to grow it: http://growingtaste.com/herbs/saffron.shtml. If you're not ready to try growing your own... although it's expensive, a little goes a long way, and word on the internet is that www.saffron.com has the best prices on high quality saffron. 

This charming side dish is a great way of dressing up carrots, and it goes just as well with lamb chops as with fish or chicken.

A pinch of saffron, crumbled
1/2 cup boiling water
2 T. butter
1 1/2 pounds carrots, sliced into thin coins
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. freshly grated orange zest
1/2 t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T. Grand Marnier or Cointreau
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Soak saffron in boiling water to bring out its flavor. In a large skillet fitted with a lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, garlic and orange zest. Toss to coat with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Add the saffron water, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Add Grand Marnier and parsley, toss and cook a few minutes longer, until most of the liquid is evaporated. Serves 4.

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