Glazed Carrots with Guanciale

Zakary Pelaccio gives traditional glazed carrots a makeover with crispy guanciale (think bacon's funky Italian cousin), a drizzle of maple syrup, and an herb garnish. It's a deft blend of sweet and salty flavors that makes for a festive side dish.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

1 pound young carrots, i.e., ones that don't need peeling

4 ounces guanciale, or high-quality bacon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Red sorrel, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Carrots, part 1: Gently clean the carrots under running water with a clean scrubby pad. Trim where the stalk meets the carrot, scraping away any grit with a small knife. Set aside.
  2. Guanciale: Cut the guanciale into matchsticks or cubes. Place in a skillet, and set it over medium heat. Sauté guanciale until crispy and fat has rendered, 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a paper towels to drain, and pour rendered fat into a bowl. Deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of water, using a small spatula to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom.
  3. Carrots, part 2: Add butter, carrots (in an even layer), and maple syrup to the pan. Season with a pinch of salt, then add enough water to fill the skillet halfway. Bring to a simmer and cook 3–5 minutes to reduce the liquid. Carrots are done when you can pierce them with a knife and meet just a little resistance. (If they’re not quite done, add a bit more water, about ¼ cup, simmer several minutes, and check again.)
  4. When the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency and the carrots are cooked, taste for seasoning—but don't add salt. Instead, stir in 1–2 tablespoons of guanciale fat: the more, the saltier. (If this "breaks" the sauce—i.e.,the fat separates from the liquid—stir in a few tablespoons of water to bring it back together.) Mix in ¾ of the guanciale.
  5. Assembly: Spoon carrots with sauce onto a serving platter. Garnish with red sorrel and remaining guanciale. Serve.