Comparing carrots to potatoes is like weighing the differences between apples and oranges—they’re both good in their own right. No matter which root you root for, there will be plenty of earthy goodness to savor.
The secret to these carrot fries is patience. They need to be roasted for a long time—up to an hour—to get the texture just right. As they roast, carrots move through a mushy stage. If your carrots are mushy, you’re not roasting them long enough. Roasting beyond the mushy zone imparts a pleasant chewiness with deep caramelization and light crisping at the edges. They’re worth the wait. The one downside is that, because the carrots lose a lot of volume as they roast, it takes a lot of carrots to make one large serving of these fries. On the other hand, there's no better way to eat a whole bag of carrots at one meal. You really get your veggies in!
This recipe calls for garam masala, a spice blend typically made from a blend of cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel, mace, and dried chilies. It's great stuff. It has a woody spiciness that compliments the sweetness of the carrots. These fries go superbly with a lamb burger, a whole roasted fish, or just as an appetizer with a dipping sauce like the easy spiced garlicky mayo included in this recipe.
It’s so simple and easy to vary this dish. If you don’t have or don’t like garam masala, don’t worry. These carrot fries are delicious when seasoned simply with sea salt. Fresh or dried herbs, such as oregano, marjoram, thyme, savory and mint are excellent as well. And after you try carrots, this same recipe can also be made with parsnips.
- For the Fries:
- 20 ounces carrots (cut into 3/8-inch sticks)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- For the Dipping Sauce:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 small garlic clove (grated)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 400 F.
Put the carrot sticks into a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to coat.
Arrange the carrot sticks on a baking sheet. If necessary, use a second baking sheet so the carrots can be in a single layer.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until you’re happy with the flavor and texture. Check and flip and rearrange the carrots periodically for even baking.
While the carrots are cooking, place the mayo, garlic, cumin and cayenne into a small bowl. Mix to combine.
Remove carrots from the oven. Move them from the baking sheet into a large bowl. Add the garam masala and salt to taste. Toss to distribute the seasoning. Serve immediately with dip on the side.