An unusual jar of honey and a ripping-hot sheet pan were the keys to remaking what too often can be a forgettable side dish—roasted carrots.
First, the honey. We’ve seen our fair share of infused varieties, everything from ginger and saffron to lavender and matcha green tea. Most haven’t impressed, the secondary flavor either the faintest of whispers or so loud it overshadows the clean, floral notes of the honey itself.
But during a recent trip to Mumbai, India, we discovered turmeric-infused honey. Turmeric is used liberally in Indian cooking, adding wonderfully rich, earthy flavors to vegetables and meats. We loved drizzling the honey over roasted cauliflower, the turmeric’s tannic notes complementing the sweetly caramelized vegetable while the honey left the florets with a satisfying glaze.
We suspected the combination also might work with naturally sweet carrots. But we knew that pulling the deepest flavors from this simple combination meant searing the carrots deeply without either burning them or drying them out.
A very hot oven—500°F, in fact—worked well. But we found we got even richer caramelization if we first heated the baking sheet in the oven before adding the carrots. It is an effortless way to get vastly better results, but it does require a baking sheet heavy enough to stand up to the heat.
It also was essential to add the honey only after the carrots roasted; the high heat would burn the sugar. This gave us an opportunity to warm the honey on the stovetop, better infusing it with the turmeric and another common Indian seasoning, whole cumin seeds. And while cumin was our favorite, we found coriander also was delicious.
To keep all that richness in check, we finished the dish with a sprinkle of lime zest and juice, adding bright acidity that balances the sweetness.