I was inspired by a fennel purée recipe that's part of a Bison, Beets, Blueberries, and Burning Cinnamon dish from the Alinea written up in the Alinea Cookbook. In it, fennel bulbs are simmered in butter until tender, and then puréed. Here, I intended to purée the carrots, but found that they were more interesting just poached.
Step 1: Wash, Peel, and Chop the Carrots
Step 2: Heat the Olive Oil and Carrots
Unlike some frying recipes, like Pimientos de Padrón where not much oil is absorbed, the carrots will soak up some oil. So, I like to use exclusively high-quality olive oil. Steve McCulley of Apollo Olive Oil -- my favorite producer -- suggests that olive oil's polyphenols survive up to 320°F. Here's an email from Steve:
When the carrots are cooked, you can filter and reuse the oil. I keep my oil in the refrigerator: in the images, it's still cold, which is why it's an opaque yellow.The polyphenols are still intact at 210 F, In fact polyphenols protect the oil when the heat rises up to around 320 where they may begin to break down. I cook with extra virign olive oil but others think it is waste. I cook with it because I notice a difference in taste and I know polyphenols are still retained. Others do not notice a big difference in taste so choose to cook with a lesser grade oil. Some people cook with a high quality wine and others do not. Like wine you can taste the oil much better when uncooked and drizzled fresh over cooked food. I, however, still cook with real extra virgin olive oils because other oils are not only not really extra virign they are frequently defective. If budget is a consideration I would consider cooking in a lesser oil and dressing with ApolloOlive Oil.
Step 3: Cook the Carrots
Step 4: Drain the Carrots
I then use the sieve to strain the oil for later reuse.
Step 5: Add Salt and Garlic
Note that if you want to reuse the oil, you don't want to add the salt and garlic to the oil.