Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Caramelized Carrots with Mortadella - Today's Nomination for Best Supporting Role

We are well and truly in the middle of awards season at the moment, and I couldn't be happier. I love four hour telecasts of increasing inanity featuring people wearing fantastic dresses who will possibly disappear into the ether leaving nothing behind but the smell of flaming ego. (No really I do. And while I'm confessing, I like Eurovision as well.) In years gone by, I would even make a passing attempt to see all the Best Picture nominee films before the awards were announced. Children and the economics and logistics of babysitters vs movie tickets put an end to that. I can't really explain why, but spending $50 on a babysitter makes sense when you are going out to a restaurant or a dinner party but does not make sense when all you are doing is watching a movie.

All this brings me, very circuitously to supporting acts, and their importance. Just as a film can be lifted enormously by the quality of supporting acts (imagine "Four Weddings and a Funeral" if it was two hours of unabridged Hugh Grant and Andy McDowell simpering), and so can a meal. These carrots may not win an Oscar but they definitely won curtain calls here, if you'll allow me to extend the metaphor. Take my advice and make more than you think you will need because they will all be eaten - I used five large carrots for four of us and next time I will use 6 or 7.

This recipe comes from the fabulous Stephanie Alexander in her amazing encyclopedic tome "The Cook's Companion". This is an extremely useful book covering everything from very simple to very complex recipes organised into chapters for every ingredient you could imagine. It is a mainstay in Australian kitchens - if you don't own it, buy it now. Stephanie credits Marcella Hazan as her inspiration for this recipe - an impressive bloodline if ever there was one.

Caramelized Carrot and Mortadella

mortadella sausage chopped (or any other sausage - I actually used hot salami because that is what I had)
olive oil

Saute carrots and sausage in 5mm olive oil for about 20 mins over medium high heat, turning frequently. The carrots shrink enormously and get dark brown crispy edges. When tender, season and serve.

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