Monday, November 21, 2016

Another Carrot Recipe - Yes, I Like Carrots.

I normally don't follow recipes to the letter. I don't know if it's because I know my palate and understand what will work best for it, or if I just have some odd recipe-specific ADD. In any case, it's very very rare that I do what I'm supposed to do. Case in point: the recipe for roasted carrots with creamy nuoc cham dressing that I found in a recent e-mailing from Bon Appetit magazine. Nuoc cham is the ubiquitous Vietnamese all-purpose sauce. It's sweet, salty, pungent, and amazingly delicious. Blending it with mayo and oil to create a dressing to go over a lightly sweet roasted root vegetable seemed like the fabulous no-brainer idea I always want to have (but often don't).

Normally, if I get a recipe off the Internet, I write the ingredients on a piece of scrap paper and take that to the kitchen with me. In the case of this recipe, I neglected to write down "1 ½-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced." So I made it without the ginger. Nevertheless, the sauce was lovely (after I added more mayo and a pinch of cayenne to up the heat level a tad). It worked very very well with the roasted carrots, but would be even better, I think, as a dressing for a Caesar salad. Just add parm. Had I remembered the ginger, however, I don't think I would have made the connection.

Fortunately, this recipe makes more dressing than needed for the carrots. Toss it on some romaine lettuce, add croutons and lots of fresh Parmesan, and you'll have the Caesar salad of your dreams.

Roasted Carrots with Creamy Nuoc Cham Dressing (adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 pounds medium carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch cayenne (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss carrots and vegetable oil on a large rimmed baking sheet and season with salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, 20–25 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring shallot, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until shallot is soft, 8–10 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a blender or mini-prep food processor, add lime juice and mayonnaise, and blend until smooth. With motor running, gradually stream in ¼ cup oil; blend until emulsified. Season dressing with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper, if you'd like the dressing to be spicier.

Drizzle dressing over carrots just before serving.

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