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Carrots may not be the first vegetable that comes to mind when you fire up the grill, but they can be cooked over an open flame just as successfully as the usual suspects. Grilling brings out the sweetness in carrots; they soften but do not turn as soft as they do when cooked via other methods.
Young carrots are best for grilling, as they're more tender, less dense and cook quickly. Small, thin carrots can be grilled whole. Older, larger carrots can be cut on a diagonal into thick slices. This helps expose more surface area to the heat. You can also cut carrots in half lengthwise before grilling for the same effect. To speed up cooking time, you can blanch the carrots for 2 to 3 minutes before placing them on the grill.
On the Grill
Oil the grill. Place prepared carrots over indirect heat. If you are worried about the carrots or carrot pieces falling through the grill slats, use a pierced grill pan or grill basket to contain them. You can also skewer carrot slices to help keep them in place. Cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the carrots are charred around the edges and tender when pierced with a fork.
Oven to Grill
Alternatively, you can start the carrots in the oven and then finish them on the grill. This is a good technique if you desire soft carrots and want to bring out their caramelized sweetness. Toss your carrots with olive oil, then roast in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Place them on the grill over indirect heat and cook until they brown and turn soft.
Seasoning the Carrots
Grilled carrots don't need much more than a sprinkling of coarse salt and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice before you eat them, but feel free to baste them with melted butter, including compound butters, such as a rosemary-shallot butter. Grilled carrots also pair well with various dips and dressings. Try a simple balsamic vinaigrette, a miso dressing, a homemade aioli or a green goddess dip.
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