I came upon this recipe for Slow Baked Carrots on Coffee Beans in a fabulous cookbook called Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More by Andrew Schloss. I was immediately enthralled because I just couldn't imagine what it would taste like. Schloss describes seeing the dish on the menu at Coi in San Francisco, where it was referred to only as "Carrots/ Coffee." Schloss wanted to know what it meant, and so did I. And so should you. I agree with Schloss, "it turned out to be genius - sweet, smoky, earthy genius."
Baking the carrots over warm coffee beans allows the coffee fumes to infuse the carrots, creating an unexpected roasted flavor that defies description.
This recipe is a great choice if you run into a bunch of skinny carrots, as it works best on those that are less than 1/2 inch in diameter. If multicolored carrots are available, they are always a festive choice, and make the presentation all the prettier.
The original recipe calls for medium-roast coffee, preferably decaf. This recipe calls for any whole coffee beans, because the a cook on a budget should look for whatever is on sale, and buy from a bulk bin if possible. The type of coffee does not make or break the recipe.
- 1 lb thin carrots, no more than ½ inch in diameter
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 cup whole coffee beans
- Prep. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 225F. Peel and mince the garlic.Peel the carrots and trim the ends. If any are larger than 1/2" in diameter, cut them in half lengthwise. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and set a timer for 5 minutes. Put the carrots in a large mixing bowl,sprinkle the garlic over them and drizzle with olive oil. Use your fingers to toss until the carrots are slicked with olive oil and the garlic bits are evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Toast the coffee beans. Add the coffee beans to the hot skillet and remove from heat. Shake the pan often until the coffee is aromatic and the beans look a bit oily, about 3 minutes. Scatter the carrots over the beans in a single layer and cover the pan with a lid or a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Bake until the carrots are fork-tender and infused with coffee oil, 2 to 3 hours.
- Serve. Lift the carrots from the bed of coffee beans and serve immediately. Discard the coffee beans.