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Crafty Carrots

A chef's trick for uprooting cooked carrots
A biscuit cutter or cleaned-out tuna fish can (remove both ends using a can opener) shapes carrot tartare into a fancy, tall disk.

Erick Harcey, the chef at Parka in Minneapolis, Minnesota, says that 60 percent of the dishes served at the restaurant land in diners’ comfort zone. The other 40 percent--well, that’s where Harcey gets crafty. For his take on cooked carrots, Harcey sous vides them with orange juice, honey and fresh thyme, then runs the just-tender carrots through a meat grinder to emulate the look of beef tartare. We’re happy to report that simmering the chopped carrots in the same orange infusion, as we did in our test kitchen, is equally effective. To finish, black olives and pickled ginger are added, then the lot is topped with mascarpone cheese. The combination is unexpected, delicious, and sure to elicit grins.

Carrot Tartare

Recipe adapted from Erick Harcey, Parka, Minneapolis, MN

Yield: 4 servings

Cook Time: 25 minutes


¾ cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 oranges)

Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons honey

1 fresh thyme sprig

6 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped into ⅛-inch cubes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

6 pitted oil-cured black olives, very finely chopped

1 tablespoon pickled ginger, very finely chopped

½ tart green apple (such as Granny Smith), cored, peeled and chopped into ⅛-inch cubes

1 small shallot, very finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

⅓ cup mascarpone cheese

Crackers, for serving


1. In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, add the orange juice, orange zest, honey, thyme sprig and carrots and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the carrots to a large plate to cool (discard the thyme sprig).

2. Increase the heat to medium and continue to simmer the orange juice mixture until it is reduced by about half, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil.

3. Transfer the cooled carrots to a medium bowl and stir in the olives, ginger, apple, shallot and tarragon. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to mold the carrots into a disk shape (or mound them free-form) on each of 4 plates, using the rounded side of a spoon to compress them before removing the mold. Drizzle with the reduced orange sauce. Top with a spoonful of the mascarpone and serve with crackers.

Test Kitchen Approved

We collaborate with a lot of talented chefs and tinker with everything in our test kitchen. Our goal is to make sure every recipe works as well in your home kitchen as it does in ours. So go on, cook with confidence.


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