Here is an exotic spiced crudite, if you will, to serve as an hors d’oeuvre preceding a Moroccan meal or for any occasion for that matter. The sweet and savory combination of flavors and aromas peaks the taste buds and conjures up a momentary flight of fancy into the medinas of Casablanca, Marrakech, or Fez where the essence of Morocco’s alluring cuisine flourishes in markets, homes, restaurants, and cafes.
May favorite accompaniment to serve with these spiced carrots is Harissa or Muhammara (see here). A very unusual taste bite to serve with drinks or along with a Moroccan meal.
Moroccan Spiced Carrots serves 8
6 plump carrots, peeled
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 375f/190c
Equipment: baking tray
Slice the peeled carrots in half crosswise and cut each half into 1/4 inch thick wedges lengthwise. A mandolin is useful here, but sliced by
hand is perfectly fine. Another alternative is to slice carrot into rounds, again about 1/4 inch thick.
Combine the brown sugar and oil in a small sauce pan set over low heat and stir until the sugar is melted and combined with the oil.
Heat a saucepan half filled with water and bring to a full boil. Promptly add the carrot wedges. Once the water comes back to a full boil continue to cook the carrots for 1 minute.
Promptly tip the blanched carrots onto a kitchen towel and pat dry quickly, then tip them into the bowl with the sugar and oil and toss to coat the carrots evenly.
Transfer the carrots to a baking try and place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes.
While the carrots are roasting, combine the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds in a small dry pan and toast them until they are fragrant. Transfer them to a mortar, or spice grinder, and grind until they are fairly fine. Add the ground seeds to a mixing bowl and add the cinnamon, salt, and pepper and stir until combined.
Once the carrots are a deep orange color and tender, but not overly limp, remove them from the oven and tip them into the bowl with the seasoning mix and toss until the carrots are evenly coated on all sides. Transfer the carrots to a clean tray and set aside until completely cool.
Once cooled the wedges can be halved lengthwise or served as they are. They can also be refrigerated for later use.
Arrange the spiced carrots on a serving tray along with a favorite sauce as an accompaniment for dipping.