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Posts Tagged ‘carrots’

P7200002I came across this lovely salad on Heidi’s beautifully photographed blog, 101 Cookbooks, and I’ve been aching to make it ever since.  See, I love dill.  It’s one of those things that I actually carry on my lap on the way home from the farmer’s market so I can pick it up, hold it to my nose and just breathe it in…all the way home!  Now I know that most people associate dill with things like salmon and potato salad, but in my household growing up, we had it with tuna.  Only tuna.  That was it.  So to this day the first thought that comes to mind when I see big bunch of dill at the market is, “Gee, I could really go for a big ol’ tuna sandwich!”  So of course, we flaked a little tuna on top of this salad for our dinner.  How could I resist?

This is my adaptation of Heidi’s delicious salad.  Her rendition includes a little brown sugar or honey for a touch of sweetness, but I found it was a little too sweet for me.  Click on over there to see how she does it.

I used the little pebble-sized Navy beans, but you could use any white bean….or any other bean for that matter!

My version of Heidi’s Bean, Carrot and Dill salad

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 bunch of young (but not toooooo small) carrots
  • 3 Tablespoons roughly chopped fresh dill
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped, toasted almonds
  • extra-virgin olive oil for dressing the salad
  • pure olive oil for cooking the carrots
  • kosher or sea salt, to taste

Toss the red onion with the juice of one lemon, and a good pinch of salt and allow them to macerate for about 30 minutes, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Give your carrots a taste.  If the skin is bitter, peel them.  But if not, leave the skin on…there are lots of nutrients in there!  Slice them into 1/4-inch thick rounds and saute them in a large saute pan in a single layer over medium heat. Toss them only every few minutes so that their surfaces become lightly browned. And don’t forget to give them a pinch of salt as they’re cooking.

Pour the beans and the dill right into the saute pan, along with the carrots.  Cook them over medium-high heat until they are warmed through.  It’s okay if they begin to brown slightly in spots.  It adds a delicious dimension of flavor!

Place the macerated onions into the bottom of a large bowl.  When the beans and carrots are ready, pour them on top of the onions.  Give the whole mixture a gentle stir, and squeeze in the juice of one more lemon along with a few glugs (2-3 Tablespoons?) of extra-virgin olive oil.  Allow the salad to sit for about 20-30 minutes so that the flavors begin to marry.  Taste, and add salt if necessary.

Just prior to serving, toss in the toasted almonds.

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Sunburn Salad

Last Monday a big group of Zuni folk took a trip up to Tomales Bay to visit the Hog Island Oyster Company.  What a beautiful day it was.  The sun was out, the sky was blue and the breeze was cool.  So cool that no one even felt the imminent sunburns in the making.  But it was perfectly clear, the next day at work, just who had attended the event.  All the tomato-faced people, walking around trying to keep their shirts off of their sunburned shoulders.

We got to hear all about the in’s and out’s of the business from the effects of the Cosco oil spill, to the “extinction” and re-generation of kumamotos, and the alarming costs of running an oyster farm.  Then we were set loose in the picnic area for a Grand BBQ, Zuni style.  While the restaurant provided us with Niman ‘dogs and Acme buns, the rest of the impressive spread came from both cooks, and front-of-house folk alike.  And impressive it was!  We had quinoa tabouli, carnitas, steak tacos, ribs, chocolate chip cookie bars, nectarine tarts, and more chips than you could shake an oyster knife at!  (Oh, and tons of Hog Island’s Sweetwater and Kumamoto oysters!)

Well you know me, and the first thought I had was that someone had better bring some vegetables!  So I got up early and cooked up a yummy little carrot, fennel and golden beet salad.

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Roasted Carrot, Fennel, and Golden Beet Salad

For the Carrot component

As you may have read before, I love roasted carrots in salads.  To prepare them, I peel them and cut them in halves or quarters, lengthwise.  Then I put the carrots into a pot of cold, salted water and bring them to a simmer.  Simmer until they are mostly cooked.  As you’re simmering them, make a quick high-acid vinaigrette consisting of equal parts vinegar and olive oil.  Season it with salt, cumin, corriander, and chili flake.  Pour this vinaigrette into a flat-bottomed dish.  When the carrots are ready, lift them out of the water and bathe them in the vinaigrette for 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, turn on the broiler. Spread the bathed carrots on to a cookie sheet or metal roasting tray and place under the broiler for 10-ish minutes, until they start to color.  Stir them around, and broil 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until they are evenly caramelized and roasty-looking.  Place them back into the flat-bottomed dish that originally contained the vinaigrette.

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For the fennel component

Trim the stalks from the top of the fennel, and cut the bulb in half, through the root-end.  Use a paring knife to carve out the pithy root.  Slice the bulb into match-sticks.  Heat a saute pan over medium heat with olive oil and saute the fennel (don’t forget to salt it).  Give them one quick stir to coat them all with olive oil and salt, and then let them sit for a minute or two until they become slightly golden.  Give them a stir and them let them sit again.  Continue doing this until they’re cooked through, but still retain their structure, and are golden.  Place them, along with the carrots, into the flat bottomed dish.

For the Beets

I recommend using gold beets, or chioggia beets.  Red beets will stain your whole salad red!

Check out how to cook the beets here.  Cut them  into match-sticks and macerate them in a little vinegar and salt, leaving them in their own bowl to macerate for at least a half hour.  Then add them to the rest of the veggies in the flat-bottomed dish.

To assemble the salad

Once all the veggies are in the dish, add a few sprigs of chopped mint and a little chopped marjoram.  You may also need to add a little more vinegar, oil, and salt.  Allow the salad to sit for at least an hour so the flavors can marry, stirring every-so-often.  Serve at room temperature.  Yum!

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I like to refer to this as “the roasted carrot salad” even though carrots are not, by any means, the main ingredient.  But they are my favorite ingredient, and I’m totally smitten with them.  The deal is this…I love the idea of carrots, but I’ve never really been a big carrot eater.  Raw carrots, sure.  Pickled carrots, heck ya.  But cooked carrots, plain, in just butter.  Ehh, not so much.  Then I happened upon this fun little method and I fell in love.  Shall I say it again?  Love, I tell you.  It all started with Mister Jamie (Oliver, that is).  I know, I know, that’s two Jamie inspired dinners back to back, but what can I say?  (I may have fallen in love with him too…)  Eh hem.  Back to the carrots.

Versatile Dinner Salad

So I took those bee-u-tiful carrots that I pulled from the garden, peeled them, and cut them into halves and quarters, lengthwise.  Threw them in a shallow sauce pan, and barely covered them with salted water.  Brought the water to a simmer, and cooked them at a gentle simmer until they were just done, with a little tooth left.  Meanwhile, I had prepared a high acid vinaigrette using equal parts vinegar (sherry and red wine) and extra-virgin olive oil.  Into the vinaigrette, I threw a small pinch of crushed cumin, a small pinch of crushed caraway, a bit of chili flake, and a few leaves of chopped mint.  (Of course when I say “pinch”, I’m referring to my own little hands, so you crazy big-handed folk may want to scale back a bit!)

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There’s that vinaigrette just longing for those hot, simmered carrots to bathe in it.  Let the hot carrots hang out in the vinaigrette for about 10 minutes so they really soak up the flavor.  Then I pulled the carrots out of the vinaigrette, threw them into a pan, and put them under the broiler until they were slightly charred and roasty-looking.

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When they were done, I just pulled ’em out of the oven and let them cool while I put the rest of the salad together.

P5180028I used “little gem” lettuces, which is an heirloom cross of romaine and butter lettuce, but don’t think of this “salad” as being mostly lettuce.  All the other stuff played principle roles.  I threw in a little sliced spring onion that I macerated in some of that carrot vinaigrette while the carrots were roasting in the oven.  Avocado is a must in this salad if you ask me, and then I tossed in some rice.  Oh,…and those lovely beets.  I flaked in some tuna, right out of the can, and tossed it all with a little more olive oil.  You may find that you need more vinaigrette, depending upon how much you made in the first place…taste it and decide.  And you’ll likely need a pinch of salt too.

P5180035You know when you dig in to dinner sometimes, and you can’t even stop to talk about how good it is because you just keep stuffing it in?  Yup, that’s what happened.

So the reason that this salad is so great, is that it’s built using categories.  The lettuce/ greens, the starch, the protein…

I use whatever lettuce I can find at the farmer’s market.  Arugula, frisee, chicories…

We often use left-over shredded chicken as our protein, but tuna or even hard-cooked eggs, sliced into wedges are great too.

And for the starch, you can really go crazy.

  • Beans
  • Rice (red, white black, brown, wild)…so many possibilities
  • lentils (a true favorite)
  • staled bread croutons, tossed in oil and toasted in the oven ’til golden
  • left-over potatoes, cut into chunks and tossed in
  • farro, quinoa or other grains

And as I said before, we always use avocado.  Seriously.  It’s a must.

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