Oil-Poached Carrots





Introduction: Oil-Poached Carrots

About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...

I love carrots in all forms: grilled, stir-fried, raw, and juiced. Oil-poaching carrots concentrates their flavor without caramelizing or browning the sugars. Adding a bit of sea salt and raw garlic results in a highly flavorful dish that highlights good carrots and is straightforward to prepare.

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

Wash, peel, and coarsely chop the carrots.  I often weigh the carrots to help me better estimate how much salt and garlic to add.  In the images, I'm using around half a kilogram.

Step 2: Heat the Olive Oil and Carrots

Use enough oil to cover the carrots by half-an-inch or so, and heat up both the oil and carrots.  There's enough water in the carrots that under medium heat, the mixture will stay near 212°F. 

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:
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.
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.

Step 3: Cook the Carrots

Cook the carrots under oil until they've lost most of their water.  The objective is to concentrate the carrots' flavor without exposing them to oxygen or temperatures much above boiling.  You can tell when this happens because the carrots' volume will be significantly reduced, and the temperature of the oil will start creeping upwards -- I usually call it done at around 230°F.  Depending on your heat-level and amount of carrots, this will take 30-60 minutes.

Step 4: Drain the Carrots

Drain the carrots.  I use a kitchen sieve, and just let the oil drip back into the pot.

I then use the sieve to strain the oil for later reuse.

Step 5: Add Salt and Garlic

Add salt and garlic to taste.  For 500 g of peeled, uncooked carrots, I use 3-5 g of sea salt and 3 cloves of raw, micro-grated garlic. 

Note that if you want to reuse the oil, you don't want to add the salt and garlic to the oil.

Step 6: Serve

Serve while still warm.



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    Thanks for posting this! I wanted a different way than I usually prepare carrots and this looks yummy. Making for today's Easter dinner.

    Looks tasty :)

    Whats the difference between 'poached in oil' and 'deep fat fried'
    Im wondering if its the same thing, or whether poaching means a lower temperature.
    Or maybe its just a US/UK language difference?


    3 replies

    In this recipe, I'm using a lower temperature than one would use to fry carrots.

    They're still deep fried, just at a lower temperature. (I mean let's call a spade a spade and a shovel a shovel)...after that it's all academic.

    FYI, words means things.
    Poaching is cooking between 160 - 185 degrees.
    Frying is cooking at temperatures higher than that...

     i hate carrots(!!!) but good instructable anyway.

    A very easy way to roast garlic too!  I do this same method of the low and slow good oil using garlic cloves, whole and UNPEELED.  After the peels start turning brown, take them out and drain the infused oil.  Then the garlic will pop out of the skins with a squeeze at one end.  It is sweet and mild, not to mention soft enough to mash into some butter for garlic bread spread...  If it makes it that far.  I usually eat half of it before it can get room temp.  I bet I can do the carrots and garlic at the same time... ^ ^

    2 replies

    Garlic sounds fantastic!  I've roasted peeled garlic with olive oil in the oven, but you're right, I should just drop a head of garlic in the oil the next time I do carrots.  

    I forgot the easy tip:  break up the clove of garlic and cut the crusty end off them first.  The soft cloves will just squeeze out later when you pinch the other end.  You can also watch the smaller ones and take them out before they burn.

    Oooooo <3 Carrots !

    What's the caloric content of this?  Like how much oil gets absorbed as the water seeps out.  Does it compare to frying, calorically-speaking?

    1 reply

    I estimate the carrots to have more oil then properly fried food, but less than improperly fried food.  There's definitely oil in them, but probably no more than mashed potatoes with butter.

    We did a dish like this at the place place I worked at, but we added some finely sliced shallots to the oil as well as cumin and coriander seeds.  We served it cold with a big dollop of saffron infused yoghurt on top 

    1 reply

    I'm hoping you'll post some of your recipes soon!

    Confit is using an animal's own fat to cook the meat, very similar, only this is vegetarian version.

    Isn't that a method of storage? 
    Looks REAL good.   I use EVOO for most of my own cooking requiring oils (since I don't deep fry nor "pan" fry anything for heath reasons & the higher temps can make Olive oil smoke).   I even spritz my air-popped popcorn with OVOO rather then butter to cut down on the saturated fats.

    This looks tasty! :D

    There's a mistake on the third line, you wrote "highly very"....

    You are quite the cook, aren't you?