Thursday, February 12, 2015

Roasted Carrots and Oranges

I found this recipe by Russ Parsons in last weekend's L.A. Times.  It sounds weird, but it's really just a cooked version of a carrot and orange salad, with an emphasis on the savory flavors.

Parsons calls this a side dish, but I made it as the focal point of a "cooked" salad, using my garden's spinach as the base and topped with chicken simmered in Williams-Sonoma's Tagine spice mix and some cumin-roasted pumpkin seeds I still have in the pantry, giving the whole dish a Moroccan flair.  The bread on the side is a buckwheat loaf I whipped up when Sprouts didn't have any baguettes because their proofer was broken.  I had already put the brie in my cart and decided not to spend $4 on an artisianal loaf when I had all the ingredients for one at home.

I'm omitting Parsons's yogurt topping because of the way I used the veggies, but I can see how some might prefer having a dressing on top.  It cuts the acidity of the oranges and melds the cumin with the carrots.  Maybe I'll make it that way some day, but it did not work with how I planned to serve this batch.

1 lb carrots, a variety of colors if you can find them
*1 large or 2 small oranges (I used valencias off the tree)
1 shallot
*1 tsp cumin seed or 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
*black pepper to taste
1 Tb olive oil
1 Tb orange juice
*1/4 C toasted, salted pumpkin seeds

1.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Not kidding, this is the most important step in the whole recipe.  Preheat oven to 400º.

2.  Peel carrots.  Cut in half lengthwise, then quarters.  If more than 3" long, cut spears in half crosswise.  Put in a small bowl.

3.  Slice oranges very thinly, rinds and all, like you were making marmalade.  Remove seeds.  Add to bowl.

4.  Peel shallot and slice very thinly.  Add to bowl.
5.  In a separate small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil, and orange juice.  Add to carrots et al, and toss until everything is well coated.  Spread out in an even layer on baking sheet and cook until the oranges are fragrant and starting to pick up some color, about 20 minutes.

6.  Stir mixture with a spatula and spread back out on sheet.  Roast until carrots are soft and starting to brown, about 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and scrape off the foil into a serving bowl.  Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve hot or room temperature.

Difficulty rating  π

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