Seasons’ Eatings: Honey Roasted Carrots with Thyme and Goat Cheese Crostini
By Karleen Armstrong
Paris, France – Bonjour from the City of Lights! This week’s relay is coming to you from Paris! Because of my profession, I’ve been staying in a different hotel in a different city abroad every week for the past five months. Maintaining my normal eating habits while traveling abroad has been a huge challenge. Some weeks I feel lucky just to find a grocery store so I can stock up the mini-bar with fresh food, let alone anything organic local, or in season. This past week I had the extra good fortune of staying in an apartment in Paris where I was able to put together something tasty and fresh to share with you.
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I wanted to make something that reflected the simplicity of food in French daily life and also take advantage of the bright produce laid out in the market storefronts, equally impressive as the flower and book displays of nearby merchants. One factor to consider when eating locally is the culture of food in your region. I can’t think of anything more French than a fresh baguette, which is why I decided to make crostini – small toasts with the topping of your choice. Throughout my stay in Paris I have seen locals strolling around the streets with that iconic baguette peeking out of their grocery sack and it’s clear this is a daily ritual. Sarah’s winterized shepherd’s pie was full of seasonal inspiration and I decided to use her addition of carrots in her dish as the sidekick in my dish. I found this recipe from Bon Appetite on Epicurious and knew that honey roasted carrots with thyme and topped with a nice goat cheese would be perfect on a warm baguette. So simple, fresh and satisfying these little toasts make it easy to forget the chilliness outside.
After a quick trip to the local fromagerie, boulangerie, and the Franprix supermarket I had everything I needed. I love that in France artisan food shops are the norm. All on one block I had my choice of cheese stores, jam shops, bakeries, butchers, and markets. In the States, the thought of having to get in my car and drive to three different stores to pick up a few ingredients rather than just go to one supermarket seems almost out of the question. Instead it was relaxing and enjoyable, and I had the quality ingredients I needed just in time to switch the laundry I started before from the washer to the dryer at the laverie around the corner.
The woman at the fromagerie was very friendly, and out of several choices recommended a goat cheese that would be best for spreading on a baguette. At my next stop, the boulangerie, I was surprised to find a “bio” organic baguette. French law prevents the addition of preservatives to any bread, so even non-organic baguettes are a good choice, especially since they are baked fresh that day. Regardless of where you live I recommend finding some artisan food shops in your area. It’s a great opportunity to support local business and you can be confident the food you purchase is of the very best quality.
At the market I found carrots and thyme both designated from France and honey with the “bio” label. It was no surprise that I wasn’t able to purchase more organic food at the supermarket. Unless you go to a natural, “bio” food store, the selection of organic produce in Europe is often small. Here is a great resource for knowing which labels to look for when shopping for organic groceries abroad.
These crostini were so simple to make and they turned out delicious. The goat cheese, thyme, and honey mixture was so smooth and flavorful I wanted to dive head first into the bowl. Be sure to slice the baguette with a bread knife so as not to squish the crust. You can play around with the different cheese, herb and vegetable combinations depending on what is in season. Any type of crostini would be great for a lazy lunch or sharing with friends with a nice bottle of wine, or in my case coffee!
Honey Roasted Carrots with Thyme and Goat Cheese Crostini
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Assembly Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 20-25 pieces
- 1 baguette
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 8 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 lb carrots, grated
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice the baguette into one-inch thick pieces. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Toast baguette slices for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove from heat and cool.
- Add 1 Tablespoon oil to skillet and add grated carrots, and salt and pepper. Sauté until they begin to brown slightly, about 5-8 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add butter, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon of thyme, and toss until vegetables are glazed, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Mix remaining honey and thyme into goat cheese.
- Assemble: Spread goat cheese mixture onto each crostino and top with the sautéed carrots. Drizzle with honey. Serve and enjoy!
Karleen is from Denver, Colorado, but spending this year on tour in Germany and France. She is a professional ice skater currently pursuing a career in sustainable food. She never travels without her measuring cups, a loaf pan, and a cute apron.