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August 10, 2011

Roasted Carrots and Potatoes

by Anne Paddock

There are many delicious vegetables in the world but there is something special about carrots and a small potato called the “yukon gold”  which has only been around for about 30 years. The Crop Watch Potato Education Guide (yes, there really is such an entity) put out by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln reports the yukon gold is a result of cross breeding by scientists in Canada. Oval shaped and small, these potatoes with a yellow interior almost look like they have been buttered when in fact, the yellow tinge is the potato’s natural color. 

canstockphoto6384122The yukon gold potato is less starchy than other potatoes and instead has a creamy rich flavor that stays moist when baked and punches a mouthful of earthy potato flavor when roasted with a bit of olive oil.  High in potassium, Vitamins C and B, yukon golds have an abundance of dietary fiber.

canstockphoto13664602Carrots, a root vegetable are usually orange in color although purple, yellow, red, and white varieties exist. Wikipedia reports that carrots are likely to have originated in Iran or Afghanistan and that the modern western carrot appears to have been introduced to the west about 1,000 years ago.  Carrots are high in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals and a well-known source of Vitamin A which we need for good vision.

The carrot is almost as American as hot dogs and apple pie as most people eat carrots raw in salads, as a snack, baked, cooked and even as a juice.  California grows a lot of carrots (although not nearly as many as China which is the largest producer in the world with 45% of global output according to Wikipedia) and every year in Holtville, California which claims to be the “Carrot Capital of the World,” there is a 10-day festival celebrating the carrot called “The Annual Community Salute to the Carrot.”  Yes, 10 days of carrots! and more carrots! Holtville is about 125 miles west of San Diego just north of the Mexican border.  The festival is sponsored by the Holtville Chamber of Commerce and takes place in early February every year. For information, go to www.holtvillechamber.org.

Roasted yukon gold potatoes and carrots make a simple delicious side dish but there is a trick to baking these vegetables to ensure that both are baked to perfection:the potatoes need to be baked first covered – with the carrots added halfway through the baking time. And,don’t omit the brown sugar as the small amount in the recipe combined with the olive oil enhances the flavor of the carrots.

Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
12-14 Yukon Gold Potatoes, sliced in half
7-8 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl and pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss potatoes to coat well.
  • Add a pinch of salt to the potatoes and toss.
  • Pour potatoes -flat side down – on a parchment paper lined rectangular shaped pan.
  • Lay the potatoes cut side down on the bottom of the pan so there is one layer.
  • Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the potatoes from the oven and dispose of the aluminum foil.
  • Meanwhile, peel and slice the carrots diagonally to 1/4 inch thickness (Note: the carrots can be sliced ahead of time, submerged in cold water and then placed in the refrigerator until ready to use. Drain water before using).
  • Place the sliced carrots in a bowl. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the carrots and toss to coat.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar to the carrots and stir to distribute. Let the carrots sit until the potatoes come out of the oven. The oil and sugar will combine to make a small amount of juice on the bottom of the bowl.
  • Pour the carrots and juice over the top of the potatoes, add a pinch of salt over the top and place the pan back in the oven uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring gently halfway through.
  • Remove and immediately spoon into a large serving bowl.
  • Sprinkle fresh parsley over the vegetables and serve.

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