This year, Thanksgiving was all about the blog. With the exception of the turkey and the stuffing and the mashed potatoes and the gravy, our meal was constructed around various clipped recipes from my archives. My father and stepmother are kind and generous folk and I thank them for their patience and flexibility. Because it can be harrowing to serve new recipes on the one night when everyone expects their meal to be comforting, familiar and delicious. Luckily, my parents like to live on the edge.
It's not that any of the new recipes we made were inedible. Some were truly glorious (you'll hear about more of those in the next few days.). But some were not ones we'd make again. And it is, of course, my solemn duty to report these to you. Matt and Ted Lee, writers I love to read, published an article last April in the NY Times Magazine about the maple sugaring business. The recipes that came with the article were for glazed carrots and a maple cheesecake. I figured the carrots would be a bright and glossy addition to the Thanksgiving table - a bit of color and snap never hurt anyone.
It was a lovely-looking dish. And in theory, the blend of buttery, sauteed shallots, sharp lime juice, mellow syrup, and tender carrots would make for a delightful dish. But when I speared a few pieces and put them into my mouth, a most curious flavor developed. Do you know what this dish tasted of? Peaches. It was the oddest sensation: the sum of all those parts equaled the flavor of a warm, fuzzy peach. So, it tasted good! But not on my Thanksgiving table. Maybe this is the perfect dish for children who don't like their vegetables? There has to be someone out there who wants his or her vegetables to taste like fruit...
Maple-and-Lime Glazed Carrots
1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and trimmed, sliced on the bias 1/3-inch thick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup grade A medium amber or dark amber maple syrup
1 tablespoon lime juice
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Pour cold tap water into a large pot fitted with a steamer basket to a depth of 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, add the carrots, cover and cook just until the carrots have lightened in color and are barely tender, about 4 minutes.
2. Preheat the broiler with a rack set about 4 inches from the heat. In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the butter until frothy and add the shallot and lime zest. Saute, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the shallot is translucent, but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the carrots, maple syrup, lime juice and a pinch of salt and stir to coat. When the mixture begins to bubble, continue to simmer 6-8 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half and syrupy.
3. Transer the skillet to the broiler and cook until the edges of the carrots have just begun to brown, about 5 minutes. Finish the dish with a sprinkling of salt and a few coarse grinds of pepper.