There’s Hasselback Potatoes, so why no carrots? These are a nice side, they can be partially prepared ahead of time and are pretty. Oh, yeah. Did I mention they’re also really delicious? The key is to find really huge carrots. I find mine at markets that have loose carrots and I find Asian markets tend to offer larger carrots. I don’t know why, but they do and that works for me. You want the fattest carrots possible, at least 1 1/2-inches in diameter. If they are long enough, cut in half, about 3-4-inches in length. Peel them and place in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 8 minutes…no more, no less. Remove the carrots from the water, plunge into cold water and cool to room temperature.
Lay the carrots on a cutting board, place a chopstick on either side, to prevent the knife from cutting all the way through. Slice into equally thick slices, a little more than 1/8-inch. Rub them well with olive oil or bacon fat. Combine the filling items in a dish; stir well and using a teaspoon, place about 1/2 teaspoon of filling in between each slice. The carrot will splay open slightly. Place in an oven-proof pan; I use a skillet. Place in the oven and roast until the carrots are tender and the stuffing is all browned and crispy. Because we use panko, the stuffing is going to retain that lovely crispiness, and the sesame seeds add to the crunch. They actually reheated reasonably well, in the microwave.
Hasselback Carrots with a Seasoned Cheese-Crumb Stuffing
- 4 (4-inch) pieces of extremely large carrots*
- Boiling water
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- 3-4 teaspoons finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 2-3 teaspoons finely chopped chives (or garlic chives)
- 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (toasted, if possible)
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
- 3-4 teaspoons olive oil or melted butter
- Chopped parsley, mint or cilantro, optional
- Maple syrup, optional
*Ideally the carrots should be about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. If the carrots taper, cut keeping each piece an equal size. Use the smaller section for another use…soup could work!
Place the carrot sections in the boiling water. Partially cover and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the carrots. When they are just barely tender, remove to a plate; cool to room temperature. (Make ahead: You can do this the day before; refrigerate, covered.)
When ready to finish, stir together the first amount of olive oil, parmesan cheeses, the panko crumbs, lemon zest, chives, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Set aside.
Place chopsticks on either side of each carrot section. Using a very sharp knife, slice down, letting your knife stop at the chopsticks. You’ll want to slice just under 1/4-inch thick. Using a teaspoon, place some of the stuffing between the slices. The carrots will fan out nicely. Place in an oven-proof skillet. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil or melted butter.
Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and lightly browned. To serve, sprinkle with very finely minced mint, parsley or cilantro, if using and/or drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.
Hasselback Carrots with a Seasoned Cheese-Crumb Stuffing Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
These could be a vegetarian main course by simply adding a bit of extra cheese, as in a “loaded” baked carrot. So you have a side and something akin to a starch. There are options, from a flavor stand point. For chicken, I go with a more Asian flavor profile. For pork, I delve into a more Latino spice range and for beef, I opt for spice with lots of garlic and cheese at the end. If gluten is an issue, use gluten-free panko and you should be fine.
Just a note, I drizzled my portion with balsamic glaze…I really liked it. A little sweet, a little sharp…just like The Goddess.