here and here) and will make them again and again. I love the way the burnt outsides add another dimension of flavor to the sweet and earthy vegetable. It takes away a bit of the sweetness, actually, making them more palatable to people who are not all that fond of cooked carrots (like Mr Minx). I also love the way they smell while they are charring over the gas flame of my cooktop. Yes, they smell burnt, but that's not a bad thing.
In the past, I put the charred carrots in the oven to finish cooking, but when it's 1000 degrees outside, the microwave is a less-sweaty alternative. Takes much less time, too.
For some reason, I find that charred carrots go really well with Middle Eastern flavors, like harissa, so I whipped up a quick vinaigrette with some stuff I had on hand--lemon juice, Dijon, honey, and harissa. I don't like oily vinaigrettes--I prefer them to be on the acidy or sweet side, so I used just enough extra virgin olive oil to add richness and bind the other ingredients together. I think I made about three tablespoons of the dressing in all, so start off with tiny amounts like the juice of half a lemon, a small squirt of the mustard, a dollop of the honey, a wee bit of harissa. Beat well with a fork, then add a tablespoon or so of the oil. Beat again. Taste. If it needs more of anything, add it. If not, then you've made a very flavorful dressing with not a whole lot of work.
Add nuts and cheese to the salad--I had walnuts and bleu, but pistachios and feta would be amazing. Scallion and mint add still more flavor.
This salad would make a great meal all on its own with some good buttered bread, I think, but it would also be a fab side dish for some simple grilled chicken.
Charred Carrot Salad
4-5 medium carrots
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon harissa or to taste
1/2 teaspoon honey or to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
Chopped walnuts or pistachios
Bleu cheese or feta crumbles (omit if you prefer a vegan dish)
Fresh mint leaves
Peel and trim the carrots. Blot carrots dry with a paper towel and blacken on a very hot grill or over an open gas flame. Turn them regularly to blacken all sides. As the carrots are done, place them on a microwave-safe plate. When all carrots are thoroughly charred, cover the plate with plastic wrap and microwave on high power about 4-5 minutes or until tender. Remove plastic and allow carrots to cool on the plate.
Make a dressing with the lemon juice, harissa, a squirt of Dijon, the honey, and a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Beat with a fork until emulsified and taste. Add salt if needed. It should be very thick and pungent. Add more lemon or harissa if you want it more tart or spicy.
When carrots are cool, cut them on the bias into about 2" long slices. Mound them on a plate, drizzle with dressing, and top with scallions, nuts, cheese, and torn fresh mint.
Serves 2 - 4
Posted on Minxeats.com.