Friday, May 2, 2014

Carrots with Tequila

I don't drink much tequila but I keep it on hand because it is an excellent cooking liquid. It imparts this sweet, herbal flavor that goes so well with many ingredients, here carrots. It's also the cooking liquid in my recent mahi-mahi roasted with tomatoes. You could use wine but for Mexican cuisine, tequila just seems right. Unlike wine, it contains enough alcohol to flame. If you aren't comfortable doing this (it is quite dramatic), it's not absolutely necessary. The alcohol will evaporate, though not all of it cooks off, even if you flame it.

Some important safety tips if you want to try your hand at flaming:
  • Never pour the liquor from the bottle into the pan. If the bottle slips out of your hand, you are going to have serious trouble on your hands. Measure what you need into a measuring cup and pour from there.
  • Stand back as far as you can when you ignite the alcohol. The flames go pretty high and you don't want to be near them when that happens. And if you have anything flammable hanging over your stove, remove it before flaming.
  • It's safest to remove the pan from the heat, and use a long match to light the alcohol. If you have a gas stove, you can add the alcohol, then carefully tip the edge of the pan towards the flame to light the alcohol. It should ignite quickly.
  • You should always have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen in case of an emergency.
Carrots with Tequila
(serves 4)

1 pound carrots
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
salt and black pepper
¼ cup tequila

Cut the carrots into ¼" coins. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet with a cover. Add the carrots and toss to coat in butter. Cover the pan and cook until just tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir once during cooking. If the carrots start to brown, turn down the heat. Add the dill, salt, and pepper. Mix seasonings in and increase the heat to high. Add the tequila and set tequila on fire. Shake pan until the flames die out, then serve.

If you don't want to set your carrots afire, only cook carrots for 10-15 minutes until still crunchy, and keep the pan heat around medium when you add the tequila. Cook the carrots in the tequila for 5 minutes to cook off some of the alcohol and finish cooking the carrots.

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