French Technique to the Rescue:Parchment Lids

The short version:

For today's demo, we made glazed carrots by using the classic French technique of covering the vegetables with a lid make from parchment paper and cooking down a little water, salt, and butter until they form a shiny glaze. The carrots at today's market were recently harvested, sweet and delicious.

The long version:

The technique I used in today's demonstration was straight out of my first weeks of cooking school, several years ago at the French Culinary Institute. If I remember correctly, this is something we did on the very first day.

It seems like it would be difficult to mess up carrots, but coaxing the natural sweetness out of a carrot is another type of affair. The way I learned to do this was to cut a round piece of parchment slightly larger than my saute pan, cut a little hole in the center as a steam vent, arrange the carrots in a single layer in the pan, add water, butter, a pinch of salt, and press the parchment lid onto the whole affair to cook for about ten minutes. The carrots are done when the water has boiled away and you're left with a glaze.

With the parchment lid on, it looks like this:

A close up of the steam vents shows how shiny the carrots become when they are ready to be removed from the heat:

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