The Secret to Sweet, Tender Spring Carrots

Cook, In Season, Learn, Spring, Tips & Techniques

Few vegetables are more visually striking than the heirloom carrots I find at my local market. The bundles of knobby roots come in shades of gold and deep purple, often with vibrant orange stripes running down their centers. I pickled a batch a few weeks ago and was delighted to see the full contents of the jars turn a bright pink after just days.


Thick, bulky orange carrots are ideal for roasting, lending a nutty flavor and soft texture that complements hearty cool-weather meals. But in the spring, I love to glaze these more delicate varieties. Glazing calls for cooking vegetables in a sauté pan with butter, nearly covering them with liquid (usually water or stock), adding a pinch of sugar and then simmering until the liquid has dissolved. The result is a thickened, rich glaze with just the right amount of buttery sweetness.


Almost any minced herbs — from parsley and thyme to mint — can add bright layers of flavor to the finished dish. Try this method yourself with the recipe below, which transforms humble spring carrots into an elegant side dish.


Glazed Carrots


4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 1/2 lb. baby carrots in assorted colors, such as orange, yellow and red, peeled, tops trimmed to 1 inch

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup Madeira or dry sherry

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 Tbs. sugar

2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the carrots and stir to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Madeira and broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pan and simmer until the carrots are just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.


Uncover the pan and add the sugar, stirring well to combine. Continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the carrots are glazed, 5 to 6 minutes more.


Transfer the carrots to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.


About the author: Olivia Terenzio grew up in Mississippi, where she cultivated a love of sweet potatoes, crawfish and cloth napkins at a young age. A passion for sharing food with friends and family led her into the kitchen and later to culinary school, where she learned how to roast a chicken and decorate a cake like a pro. As a Williams-Sonoma blog editor, she’s now lucky enough to be talking, writing and thinking about food all day.

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