Carrots: A Colorful Crunch
By Maggie McCauley | Styling by Alyssa Otto
Remember being told to eat carrots for better vision when you were younger? Well, that old wive’s tale might have been true because now we’re looking at carrots in a whole new way! “We have approached the carrot in a lot of different ways for sure,” says Chef Curtis Gamble of Station. “It’s one of the sexiest fall, winter, and spring crops we get these days.”
Gamble sources beauties for his Bloomfield restaurant from Root & Heart Farm in Gibsonia, Pa., and notes that the flavors change with the seasons. The cold weather brings the sugar to the root, as the carrot is converting some of their starch into sugar, which intensifies the sweetness of the part that’s eaten. “They do this to keep the water in their cells from freezing,” explains Jen Urich of Root & Heart Farm.
Although carrots are “pretty difficult to grow,” taking anywhere from 50 to 80 days before they can be harvested, they are pretty simple to cook with. The carrots currently gracing the menu at Station are really dynamic in flavor and texture. And Gamble takes advantage of the entire carrot, preferring to incorporate the tops into sauces, frying or baking them into crispy bites, or even using them in pasta dough. From roasting to juicing, Station is taking both classic and modern approaches when preparing this tried-and-true veggie.
“Currently on our menu, we pair baby carrots that are roasted in Vadouvan spice (a French-style curry) and butter with seared corvina (a dense, flaky white fish), a toasted grain salad, and raisin-apple relish,” Gamble says. Heirloom baby carrots can be prepared easily just by roasting them in the oven, with strong flavors such as smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and black pepper. A flavorful crunch that really packs the punch! Urich adds, “Sweet or savory, the possibility are endless!”