Why Cancale? Because grocery store produce here can be really, really good.

Generally speaking, I do not shop at the local grocery store for produce. (There are farmers’ markets here for that.) But just back from the US last week, I did a quick fruit and veg run to the supermarket up the hill get me through till I could go to the farmers’ market. My American shopping experiences were still fresh in my mind as I cruised through the store, and lemme tell ya, the Cancale Super U (part of a French supermarket chain) beat even the highest of the high end American stores for produce (and just about everything else. I got sweet, juicy cherry tomatoes, some fresh Spanish figs, a leafy head of lettuce the size of my own head, and this bunch of rainbow carrots that looked like it had just arrived off the farm. It cost just €1.50 (about $1.75)–less than half of what the same carrots would cost in a US supermarket and a whole lot fresher.

Oven-Roasted Carrots with Toasted Cumin and Coriander

Less work + more flavor/texture = my kind of recipe. That is why I’m loving the enduring trend of whole (or hardly cut) roasted vegetables. Whole roasted cauliflower has become a weekly standard through the cooler months, and I moved on to carrots after finding a bunch of multicolored beauties at the local supermarket. They were so good that I ate three or four off the roasting pan with just a good sprinkling of salt. (Well…fleur de sel de Guérande…when in Brittany after all…). And they were even better when I seasoned them with some oil and toasted whole spices. You can also add a squeeze of lemon just before serving for a little tang. Next time (which will be soon), I may even skip peeling the carrots and just give them a good scrub, just to trim the work time and increase the flavor/texture even more.

1 large bunch medium-size carrots (about 18 carrots), greens removed, carrots peeled or scrubbed
4 Tbs. (60 ml.)olive oil, divided
1 tsp. each whole cumin and coriander seeds
½ tsp. whole mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt (fleur de sel) and coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly rub it with olive oil.

Rub the carrots with 2 Tbs. olive oil, and spread them on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the carrots in the oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender and beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil with the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds in a small saucepan over low heat until the coriander seeds begin to pop, swirling the saucepan occasionally to prevent the seeds from burning. Remove from the heat, and let cool 5 minutes before adding the garlic. Swirl to combine.

Transfer the carrots to a serving plate, and pour the spice oil over top. Season with salt and pepper.

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