Hometown boys Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman are famed for their Italian-influenced Southern fare at Hog & Hominy in Memphis, Tennessee. Here, the chefs give roasted carrots the barbecue treatment with an aromatic espresso rub sweetened with sorghum, a classic Southern grain used to make syrups. "We love its grassy, herbal taste," says Hudman, who recommends using the Muddy Pond brand ($8/16 f l. oz.; old-mill.com). (Short on sorghum? You can substitute in maple syrup.)
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutesActive Time: 40 minutesMake Ahead: Rub (up to 1 week), sorghum sauce (up to 3 days)
1 tsp ground espresso½ tsp chili powder½ tsp brown sugar¼ tsp ground cumin¼ tsp ground coriander½ tsp saltSorghum Sauce
¼ cup sorghum syrup (or maple syrup)2 fresh sage leaves½ lime, juiced, plus zest for garnish1 tbsp unsalted butterSalt and freshly ground black pepperCarrots
16 large carrots, peeled2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil2 tbsp unsalted butter8 dates, choppedSalt and freshly ground black pepper2 tbsp parsley leaves1 tbsp lime juiceDirections:
For espresso rub:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.For sorghum sauce:
1. Combine sorghum syrup, sage, and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; let cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by almost half, 3–4 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, then stir in lime juice, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Let sit 10 minutes; remove sage.For carrots:
1. Set a bowl of ice water aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add carrots to boiling water; cook until barely tender, 2–3 minutes.
2. Transfer carrots to ice bath; let sit 20 seconds. Remove to a clean towel, and dry.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter; let cook until the butter foams, about 1 minute. Cook carrots in batches, adding half the carrots and half the espresso rub to the pan. Cook, turning carrots once, until caramelized, about 6–8 minutes. (Do not turn carrots too often or they will not caramelize.) Repeat with remaining carrots and espresso rub.
4. Return the first batch of carrots to the pan, then add the dates. Cook, stirring occasionally, until dates soften, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer carrots and dates to a plate; top with any pan juices. Spoon sorghum sauce over carrots; garnish with lime zest.
5. Combine parsley, lime juice, and a pinch salt in a small bowl, then spoon over carrots.