‘Confit’ is a French word meaning to preserve. It usually involves duck, goose or pork, uses some form of fat, and is cooked long and languidly at low temperature. The fat medium allows the collagen to break down into a gelatinous form without drying the more delicate meat. In the case of the carrot, none of this applies. The long, slow cooking allows the moisture to evaporate, concentrating the flavour compounds and sugars. For most of the cooking, the carrot maintains the horror of boiled carrots past, but persevere and the delicate floral and apricot notes begin to assert themselves and transform this humble vegetable. Serve these as a decadent side dish with fish or meat, on their own or with homemade vanilla ice cream. There are no rules.
Time: preparation: 10 minutes, cooking 3–4 hours
1kg large carrots
300ml cold-pressed rice bran oil – or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/2 lemongrass stem, white part only
Peel the carrots and remove the stems. Cut them in half, lengthways, and then into 1cm slices. Put them in a heavy-based saucepan with the oil, coriander seeds and peppercorns.
Cut the lemongrass into 5cm pieces, smash with the back of the knife and add them to the saucepan.
Heat to a low simmer and cook for 3–4 hours until the carrots taste like dried apricots. Store them in a sealed jar in their oil until required. These will keep for two to three weeks.
To serve, drain the carrots and quickly sauté them – no additional fat required.
Recipe taken from Best Kitchen Basics, by Mark Best
Best Kitchen Basics beats the revolutionary drum in the domestic kitchen – no longer are high-end techniques or recipes the sole domain of multi-award-winning restaurants like Best’s Sydney fine diner Marque and his bistros Pei Modern in Melbourne and Sydney. Here, Mark Best breaks it down, putting the individual elements of each recipe into the home cook’s hands and empowering them to think differently. It includes 100 original recipes built around 30 accessible ingredients – from eggplant and pumpkin to chocolate and eggs. You can purchase Best Kitchen Basics at cooked.com.
Published by Hardie Grant