'Char' is one of those buzzwords that's popping up on a lot of menus these days. It's understandable! Charring something is quite exciting. The act of intentionally burning food…whyever would someone do that? It's more common than you'd think -- even outside the confines of a fancy-pants restaurant kitchen. Take roasted red peppers, for example: charring the outside of the pepper renders a pliable, sweet, smoky, and delicious treat. So, why stop there? We need to be charring some other things, too, right?
Top these dogs however you'd like: chili and cheddar with chopped white onion, or mustard and sauerkraut, or ketchup and pickle relish. Make a bunch and invite some friends over. The weather is getting warmer, everyone seems lighter and happier, and we're thinking this recipe is our first in a series of the great, healthy, summer party food.
Charred Carrot Hotdogs
6 very large carrots*
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
6 whole wheat or gluten-free hot dog buns
vegetarian chili, cheddar, chopped onion, sauerkraut, pickles, ketchup, spicy mustard (to serve)
Over a high flame on your outdoor grill's side burner or under your oven's broiler, char the carrots until they are deeply blackened all over. This will take roughly 20 minutes if you turn the carrots 1/4 turn every 5 minutes. Once they are sufficiently blackened, remove them and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Allow the carried carrots to rest for 15 minutes. They will finish cooking through during that time, and the smoke flavor will infuse throughout.
If they are cool enough to handle, pull the char off of each carrot just like you would for a roasted red pepper. Drizzle the carrots with sesame oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to warm them up on the grill if you'd like; serve them on a bun with your favorite toppings. (Serves 4-6.)
*Look for the carrots that are about as big around as a half-dollar and have very little taper to them. The biggest carrots you can find are what's going to work best here. They shrink slightly during the cooking process, and then you pull off the charred part, so they will be smaller once it comes time to eat.