Thursday, April 24, 2008

Roasted Rainbow Carrots and String Beans with Citrus-Sage Glaze

When I made these roasted carrots and string beans the other night, I immediately thought of my mom who adores them both. Like me, she often uses fresh mint on string beans, but since I had a bunch of velvety soft sage just waiting to be plucked, that's what I used. I was not disappointed.

rainbow carrots n beans

After I made the dish I called Mom to tell her. She and Dad had finished dinner, so, of course, I asked, "What did you eat?"

"I made a nice roast pork tenderloin marinated in balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, and I served it with carrots and string beans on the side," she said.

"Carrots and string beans, together?" I asked.

"Yeah, together, with some soy sauce, mint, and toasted sesame seeds. They were sooo good," she said.

"I called to tell you that I just made carrots and string beans with citrus and sage," I said.

"See that? You're in California and I'm in Rhode Island, and we made the same thing on the same day. How do you like that?" she said, with a warm laugh. (My mom just loves when things like this happen.)

If you haven't paired carrots and string beans yet, you're in for a vegetarian treat. Mini rainbow carrots have recently graced our farmers' markets, and the string beans get longer, plumper, and greener by the week.

"Mini" carrots, unlike orange “baby”carrots, are about 5-6 inches long and come in an array of fanciful colors. They're sweeter than regular carrots because they have a higher sugar content. That's why roasting them is so brilliant-- those sugars caramelize, creating a sweet, earthy, tangy flavor that is only enhanced by any variety of fresh herbs.

Carrots are highly nutritious as well. They are powerhouses of beta carotene, an antioxidant that lowers your risk of cancer, as well as lutein, which promotes ocular health. The Purple Haze carrots, like I used in my recipe, are high in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration as well as a reduced risk of many types of cancer including breast, colorectal, and esophageal.

String beans are high in vitamins A and C, important health-promoting antioxidants. So the combination of the two vegetables is a double whammy of cancer-fighting nutrients, which is why I'm sending this recipe to my friend Chris of Melecotte.

Chris is one of the first bloggers I met online. She's warm, funny, and generous. She's also a cancer survivor. April 29th marks her 7th year anniversary of being cancer-free, and to celebrate, she's hosting her Cooking to Combat Cancer event for the second year. Even if you don't know Chris, I'm sure you or someone you know has been affected by cancer. So why not send a cancer fighting recipe to Chris by April 29th?

Here's wishing Chris and all cancer survivors many more years of good health and good eating.

rainbow carrots n beans orange mat

Roasted Carrots and String Beans with Citrus-Sage Glaze
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

1/2 pound mini rainbow carrots, washed, trimmed, and thinly sliced lengthwise**
3/4 pound string beans, trimmed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice
coarse sea salt and 6-7 cranks of fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place carrots and string beans in a large rectangular baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt & pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss until coated. Cover tightly with tinfoil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the tinfoil. Add honey and fresh sage and toss to coat. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender yet crisp and a few brown spots appear.

Transfer vegetables to a platter or large bowl and drizzle with juices from the baking dish. Season with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and garnish with additional sage, if desired.

**I used mini rainbow carrots, but any type of carrot is fine. I recommend slicing them to the approximate size of the string beans so they will cook evenly.

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