Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Carrot Recipe

It's rare that you eat carrots and think, 'Wow! Those are amazing carrots!' but that's exactly what I'm hoping you say after you try this dish.

This recipe comes again from one of my favorite cookbooks, Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, and it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. I'm including it today because we're now in the grips of fall, and good, hearty dishes like this one are finally returning to our tables.

Though this is Tunisian dish, it will always remind me of the bags of dirty carrots I'd get from Lindentree Farm in Lincoln, MA when I had a farm share there. I'd come home after picking up my weekly veggies, and one of the first things I'd do would be to wash the carrots and make this tasty salad.

1 1/2 pounds carrots (peeled or scrubbed clean)
Salt to taste
4 tbsp of oil (olive, sesame or walnut)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed (or an equivalent portion of garlic powder)
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp galangal or ginger

Slice the carrots into large pieces and either boil or steam until easily pierced by a fork.
When cooked, drain the carrots and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes so that the flavors can marry.
Mash thoroughly or puree.
When mashed coarsely, this can be eaten as a salad, but when pureed can be eaten on bread much like hummus.

A few notes: The original recipe calls for the carrots to be peeled, but leaving the skins on retains more beta-carotene. Similarly, steaming the carrots, rather than boiling them, also retains more nutrients.
I prefer sesame oil for this dish, as it gives the dish a slightly nutty flavor that I prefer over olive oil in this case.
Ground galangal can be hard to find, but is uniquely good in this dish. It is similar to ginger, but imparts a slightly camphor-y, mustard-y taste. Use it sparingly, and it really makes the flavor pop.