I have a bad habit of taking carrots for granted. They’re everywhere — in lunch boxes with hummus, alongside potatoes and pearl onions under pot roast, chopped or shredded in garden side salads at mid-range chain restaurants. Their ubiquity is a slight disadvantage: The carrot is often included, but rarely considered or highlighted.
But carrots are good, so good that they need only a little manipulation to be great. Some fat, some heat, some salt, and you’ve got a sweet and savoury side or snack with a browned, slightly crispy outside and a velvety interior. Toss them in the air fryer, and you can be eating them like french fries within 10-15 minutes.
Carrot fries are aptly named for their shape and snackability. When tossed with duck fat or bacon grease, seasoned with garlic salt, MSG, and a little parmesan, and turbo-roasted in the air fryer, carrot sticks transform into an umami-packed, dippable treat I ete with a voracity usually reserved for french fries of potato variety.
Ranch is an easy choice for a dipping sauce — it’s what carrots are usually dipped in for good reason — but dip them in whipped labneh if you have it, and season that labneh with a little za’atar if possible. The cooling, tangy yogurt is remarkable when paired with a hot, crispy, salty carrot.
Air Fryer Carrot Fries
- 4 medium carrots
- 2 teaspoons duck fat (or bacon fat, or olive oil)
- Garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons powdered parmesan cheese
Wash and peel the carrots, then slice them in half horizontally to separate the thick upper portion from the skinnier bottom half. Cut the thick section into 4 sticks, and the skinnier segment into 2 or 3.
Melt the fat in the microwave for 3o seconds (if needed). Add the carrots to a big bowl, drizzle the fat on top, then toss to coat. Season with 4 shakes of garlic salt. Toss, then season with another 4 shakes of garlic salt and toss again. Season with a few pinches of MSG and toss again.
Heat the air fryer to 180°C. Once heated, add the carrots in an even layer and cook for 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, and toss with the parmesan. Return to the air fryer and cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on how deeply browned you like your carrots. Serve with ranch or za’atar-spiced labneh for dipping.
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