If using small or baby carrots, leave them whole; if using large carrots, cut them in half lengthwise. Set them flat side down and cut slices on the diagonal about 1/4 inch thick. Peel the shallots; cut larger ones into quarters lengthwise and smaller ones in half. Put the vegetables in a pan large enough to hold them in a thin layer. Add the butter, water, salt, and sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking to be sure the vegetables aren’t too dry. Add a few drops of water if needed. Remove the lid, increase the heat to high, and cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the carrots are caramelized and glazed, about another 10 minutes.
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Photo: Scott Phillips