No. 62: Cotogna's Roasted Carrots

SFoodie's countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

There are a lot of chefs roasting tiny carrots right now ― in ash or hay, tossed with pickled garlic and brown butter, with carrot puree and fried lentils. Each chef, it seems, tries to bring out some new facet of every liberal baby's favorite snack food. Reclaiming the mundane carrot seems to be as much a showpiece of a cook's skill as what he or she can do with a pig ear or an octopus tentacle.

At Cotogna, Michael Tusk and chef de cuisine Ryan Childs slow-roast slim, multicolored, finger-length carrots from Marin Roots or Mariquita Farm

in their wood-fired oven, tossing them with honey from the hives on the

restaurant's roof. The carrots soften ― not to mush, mind you, more

like the halfway point between roasted potatoes and chocolate ganache ― and their flavor deepens and becomes densely sweet. Flecked with anise seeds that burst with each bite, the roasted carrots are

less a side dish than a dessert.

Cotogna: 490 Pacific (at Montgomery), 775-8508.

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