Chef Keller recalls the syrupy glazed carrots of his childhood and assures us that these will not be those carrots. This technique will instead highlight the natural sweetness of the carrots, with only a small amount of added sugar. Glazing can be a challenging technique, even for professional cooks, but practice and experience will help you achieve the perfect glaze, which is a tight and shiny emulsion. One common mistake is to let the carrots cook beyond glazing and into caramelization (unless that is your explicit intention). Chef Keller shows you how to avoid that. He also demonstrates how to recover the dish quickly and recapture your glaze if your carrots begin to caramelize.
- 454 grams (1 pound) sweet or fresh garden carrots, peeled, oblique cut
- 5 grams (approximately 1 teaspoon) room temperature butter
- 5 grams sugar (to start) water (enough to cover carrots)
- 2 drops white wine vinegar
- Small handful parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Kosher salt
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Peeler or scrub pad
- 5-quart saucepot
- Serving bowl
Add carrots to the pan in a single layer and swirl the pan around to create an even amount of space between them. Add sugar— start with about 5 grams (approximately 1 teaspoon)—and enough water to barely cover carrots. Add butter and turn on the flame to high heat. Move the pan around throughout cooking to keep carrots evenly spaced so that each is individually glazed. Pay attention to aromas and sounds. The sound of the boiling water at the beginning of the process will become more intense. It will turn to a crackle as the water evaporates and the glaze reduces. When reduction is nearly complete, check for doneness. Chef Keller likes root vegetables to have very little resistance to the tooth without being mushy. If the vegetables are still too firm, you may add slightly more water and cook until the desired texture is achieved. Turn down the heat to medium and cook until finished. You’re looking for the butter to emulsify and the liquid to form a shiny glaze. Cooking too much will result in oiliness. Cooking too little will leave the liquid milky-looking and watery.
If you take glazing too far and begin to see slight caramelization on the bottom of the pan or notice the sheen of the glaze disappear from the surface of the carrots, add a little water and two drops of white wine vinegar, and quickly reduce again.
When reduction is complete, toss carrots in the pan with chopped parsley. Plate and sprinkle with a few grains of finishing salt for a little crunch.