While still in the parking lot before I leave the Farmer’s Market I retrieve the carrots from the bottom of the market basket and give them a quick rinse with splash from my water bottle. On the ride home I munch happily marveling at their sweet taste. These carrots don’t compare to the ones I buy in bags during the winter. Short and slender they don’t need to be peeled or trimmed and taste great au natural. But sometimes, when I arrive home, I set out a saucer of Lemon Herb Dressing (from previous blog) and dip the end before each bite. Delicious.
Grated, shredded or chopped carrots make a colorful addition to almost any salad. They are splendid in a cold or hot soup, delicious in a simple sauté—I especially like them sautéed with diagonally sliced asparagus– and of course there are always carrot cake, carrot muffins, carrot custard and carrot pudding.
Often, before I write about a vegetable, I reach for my dog-eared, much loved, much read and often quoted “Vegetable Book” by the esteemed British writer, Jane Grigson. Ms Grigson never fails to delight me with her prose and provoke me to laughter or a raised eye-brow with her candid comments. She never disappoints.
On carrots she launches into a commentary on the beauty of carrot tops in garden landscape and how they were grown in a “small dish of water” in the nursery when she was a child. True, the British have different customs.
But, it was her suggestion to roast carrots wrapped in foil (much like I like to roast beets) that took me by surprise. Why, surprise, I can’t say. But, I do like the idea. It makes perfect sense, except when you’re in a hurry. The carrots, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with a bit of coarse salt, wrapped in foil and roasted in a 350°F. took 35 minutes. But they were intensely flavored and silken in texture. If you try this method I suggest you test them for doneness— with the tip of a paring knife— after 15 minutes and then at 10 minute intervals.
Carrot and Jicama Slaw with Pineapple
- 4 carrots
- 1 (1 pound) jicama
- ½ ripe pineapple (cut lengthwise through the stem end)
- 2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on diagonal
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup mild tasting olive oil
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 garlic clove, grated or crushed
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ cup coarsely chopped dry roasted unsalted peanuts (optional)
1. Trim the ends of the jicama and remove the thick outside skin with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cut into pieces that will fit into the feed tube of a food processor.
2. Fit the food processor with the shredding blade and shred the jicama and carrots, emptying out the work bowl into a large salad bowl, as needed. Or, if preferred, shred the jicama and carrots on the largest holes of a box grater-shredder. Chop the pineapple into 1/4 inch pieces. Add the pineapple, scallions and cilantro to the jicama and carrots.
3. Whisk the rice vinegar, olive oil, ginger, garlic and salt until blended. Add to the jicama mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with peanuts, if using.
Makes 6 servings