I never wanted to wear glasses. At one point, I was so desperate to avoid being called “four eyes” that I ate raw carrots nonstop for a year after hearing that their vitamins gave rabbits great vision. It made sense at the time since the wild rabbits in my neighborhood seemed capable of seeing in the dark. However, it was an unappetizing experience that didn’t help my vision and made me avoid carrots for a decade.
I didn’t give them a second chance until someone gave me a five-pound bag of baby carrots from Costco. I attempted to eat them raw until I realized there was no chance I was finishing the bag that way. I started wondering if there was any way to make carrots palatable, and then I remembered that I usually eat carrots in tapas restaurants. (While glazed carrots at southern-style restaurants can be tasty, I shy away from anything with too much sugar.)
The carrots at tapas restaurants aren’t usually sweet. They’re served cold after being cooked and marinated in a simple mixture of spices, olive oil, and garlic. After much culinary experimentation, I finally settled on a tapas-style recipe.
(Side dish; serves two. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 30 minutes, with 15–60 minutes devoted to chilling the end result)
• 8 ounces of baby carrots, chopped in half
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 teaspoon of Badia’s Complete Seasoning
• Butter or Pam
First, I brown the carrots before boiling them to give them more color, using two tablespoons of butter or a two-second spray of Pam — you can skip this step if you’re impatient. Add salt to taste. Add water after the carrots are browned (about 10–20 minutes). Let simmer for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender. In a separate glass bowl, mix together olive oil with minced garlic and complete seasoning. Drain carrots and mix with seasoning. Chill in a fridge for at least one hour or in a freezer for 15 minutes before serving.
A note on spices: I usually use Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning instead of salt to give the carrots a little extra kick with less sodium. Badia’s Complete Seasoning is sold in the Mexican aisle of Shaw’s, but it contains MSG. MSG-free alternatives include a dash of fresh, finely chopped cilantro or dried cilantro; cumin; and onion powder.