For Easter, most people think of ham and eggs. But I think of carrots, because that cute Easter Bunny loves them so. Not only are carrots a super food, they also are amazingly versatile. Different cooking methods highlight different flavors and can bring out surprising changes in how they taste. Here are a few unique carrot recipes:
Turkish Carrot Salad
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seed
- 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt (or Plain Vegan Yogurt)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 small clove)
- Pinch cayenne
- Pinch granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (3 to 4 carrots, depending on size)
- 1 tablespoon mint, plus additional for garnish
In a small dry skillet over medium heat, gently toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool and grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, cayenne, sugar, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of the ground cumin. (For improved flavor, make the dressing an hour or two before assembling the salad.)
Right before serving, toss the carrots and mint together gently. Add enough dressing to coat the salad thoroughly. Adjust seasoning, adding more cumin and salt to taste. Sprinkle with additional mint.
- 1 lb fresh carrots
- 1 medium Russet potato
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (or vegan margarine)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 qt vegetable broth or stock
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste
- A bit of parsley for garnish
Peel the carrots, then trim the top and bottom ends. Cut carrots into (roughly) same-sized pieces, about ½ inch to 1 inch thick, depending on diameter. Don’t worry about precision — the soup is going to be puréed anyway. You just want the pieces to be of uniform size so that they cook evenly.
Peel the potato and cut it into pieces about the same size as the carrots.
In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the butter over a low-to-medium heat.
Add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is slightly translucent, stirring more or less continuously.
Add the wine and cook for another minute or two or until the wine seems to have reduced by about half.
Add the stock and the potato. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are soft enough that they can easily be pierced with a knife. Don’t let them get mushy, though.
Remove from heat and purée in a blender, working in batches if necessary.
Return puréed soup to pot and bring to a simmer again, adding more broth or stock to adjust the thickness if necessary.
Season to taste with Kosher salt and white pepper. Garnish with a bit of parsley to make it pretty.
Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed Carrots
- 1/4 cup pure pomegranate juice
- 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter (or vegan margarine)
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lb. carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut into sticks about 2 inches long and 3/8 inch wide
- Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup veggie broth
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 2 Tbs. lightly packed thinly sliced fresh mint
Combine the juice, vinegar, and honey in a liquid measuring cup and whisk. Cut 1 Tbs. of the butter into 4 pieces and refrigerate.
In a 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the carrots and a pinch of salt and toss well to coat. Cook without stirring until the bottom layer of carrots is lightly browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, stir and flip the carrots and then leave undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes to brown. Continue cooking, occasionally stirring and flipping, until most of the carrots are a bit browned in places and are starting to feel tender, an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if the bottom of the pan begins to brown too much.
Carefully add the veggie broth, cover quickly, and cook until all but about 1 Tbs. of the broth has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low, and add the pomegranate mixture (re-whisk, if necessary) and the cayenne. Cook, stirring gently, until the mixture reduces and becomes slightly glazy, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat, add the chilled butter, and gently toss with a heatproof spatula until the butter has melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and stir in about two-thirds of the mint. Serve in a warm shallow bowl or on a platter, garnished with the remaining mint.
Spanish Carrots and Olives Tapenade
- 1 Lb young carrots cut into 2 x ½ inch sticks
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBS chopped cilantro
- 12 Spanish Green olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 TBS slivered almonds, slightly toasted
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based skillet, add the carrot sticks and cook, covered, over low heat for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until almost tender.
Add the garlic, parsley and green olives and stir to combine.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then toss the carrots over low heat for 1 minute. Stir in the slivered almonds and serve warm.
Happy Easter my friends!