If there’s one plus to summer winding down, it’s the market shelves spilling over with a veritable rainbow of fruits and vegetables ripe for the harvesting. From apples to zucchinis and everything in between, it’s a cook’s paradise and allows the imagination to run wild with ways in which to prepare and serve these gifts from sun and soil. Around this time of year there is plenty of produce unfamiliar to us to experiment with at the market, but something we love to do is choose a more commonplace ingredient and come up with a dish that allows the mundane to become extraordinary.
The humble carrot, a root familiar to just about anybody you’d come across, often gets forgotten in the shadows of a recipe, tossed in with the onions, celery and garlic (who can also shine on their own when prepared with a little love) lost and seldom celebrated for the sweet, herbaceous flavour they possess all on their own. Carrots can become a stand-out main ingredient if you give them some extra attention, and pull out those big flavours they have hiding within.
Here we’ve coated the carrots in a sweet and spicy mix of Harissa and Honey, bringing out the humble roots’ naturally-occurring flavours, and we’ve topped them with some salty pistachios and a super creamy & luxurious Goat’s Milk Labneh, which is a strained yogurt cheese we’ve made with with Hewitt’s Dairy Goat Yogurt. It has a texture similar to cream cheese but is tangier and richer and just all-around better. We were loving the spicy charred bits of the roasted carrot, slightly bitter and caramelized, dragged through the smooth, zippy labneh. When you get some of the salt and crunch from the pistachios, it’s like a perfectly orchestrated symphony in your mouth; sweet and savory, salty and smooth, bitter and crunchy. Everything singing together in harmony.
serves 4 as an appetizer
I use salted pistachios here as I like that strong sweet-salty flavour, but feel free to use unsalted if you prefer or are watching your sodium. If you want to peel your carrots, feel free. When they are small, I don’t mind leaving the tender skins on as long as they are scrubbed well.
If you want to serve this as a main course, cook up some of your favourite grains and serve the carrots over the grains with a few dollops of the labneh and a sprinkle of pistachios. I love either brown rice or bulgur here.
15-20 small carrots (not baby carrots), scrubbed and tops trimmed
1 tbsp Harissa paste
1 tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 400.
Goat’s Milk Labneh
makes approx. 1 cup 1 1/2 cups Hewitt Dairy Goat Yogurt
1/2 tsp sea salt
Place a few layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter into sieve that’s been place over a bowl. Make sure the sieve doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl as you need room for the liquid to drain. Stir your 1 1/2 cups of Hewitt’s Dairy Goat Milk Yogurt with the salt and pour into the lined-sieve. Allow to drain overnight in the fridge covered loosely with some towels or plastic wrap. It should be thick and creamy but still spreadable. Keep in the fridge until you serve with your carrots. Any remaining Labneh can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.
Disclaimer: I am part of the #BornOnTheFarm Campaign sponsored by Gaylea Food Coop & PTPA Media and receive compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. Regardless, I only work with brands I use personally and enjoy.