Friday, April 12, 2013

Dirt to Table Experience: A Salad that is Dressed to Impress- A Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing

You can create a salad with incredible flavors, colors and textures.  A good salad is worthy of recognition and is remembered after it is experienced.

There are so many people who have no relationship with salad-they consider it a "diet food" something they should eat  "more of"  they purchase a couple of "on sale" bags of lettuce along with a bottle of processed salad dressing and call it salad.  We expect more of the same with our entree at the local feeding trough too.   Yet salad is so deeply ingrained into our food culture and somewhere along the way we have forgotten how to enjoy it, and more importantly forgotten how to give salad our best ingredients.

According to Food and Wine Magazine this salad won their "Best-Ever" First Course Salad.  I can believe it.  It takes a little extra-time, there are a few extra ingredients, but when it comes together you realize what salad is all about-

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing
Serves 6
Recipe from Jaime Oliver

1 pound medium carrots
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 fresh red chili
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 orange,  halved
1 lemon, halved
Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of ciabatta bread
3 Hass avocados-pitted, peeled and cut into 6 edges each
8-ounces assorted greens, such as watercress, spinach or mesclun
2 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons unsalted roasted sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
3 tablespoons low-fat sour cream mixed with 1 tablespoon of water

1.  Preheat the oven to 375degrees F.  Bring a deep skillet of salted water to a boil.  Add the carrots and simmer, covered over moderately low heat until crisp-tender, 10 minutes.  Drain and transfer the carrots to a large roasting pan.

2.  In a mortar, crush the cumin seeds, chile pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Add garlic and thyme and pound into a paste.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar.

3.  Pour the cumin dressing over the carrots and toss.  Add the orange and lemon halves to the roasting pan, cut side down.  Roast for about 25 minutes, until the carrots are tender.

4.  Meanwhile, toast the ciabatta until the edges are golden brown.  Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and, in a large bowl, gently toss with avocados, greens and arugula.  In a small bowl, combine the sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds.

5.  Using tongs, squeeze the hot orange and lemon halves into a measuring cup until you have about 1/3 cup of juice.  Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1/3 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add the warm carrots to the bowl along with the citrus dressing and toss to coat.  Transfer the salad to plates and drizzle with the sour cream.  Sprinkle the salad with the seed mixture and serve.



Amy (Savory Moments) said...

A lovely salad with a great flavorful combination!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Love the citrus and avocado in this salad. I did a winter roasted carrot salad once and it was so good. A must try.

Rosemary said...

I know that when you take the time to make a really good salad it's well worth the effort. Too often, we (myself included) simply "toss" together a salad as an afterthought -- and then we really don't think much of it. When a salad takes the stage, front and center like your gorgeous one, it deserves standing ovations.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

The flavors in this salad sound so delicious. Salads are the mainstay of my diet and I'm always searching for new combinations of ingredients and prep techniques. Can't wait to try this, Velva.

Michelle said...

I have made this salad and was amazed by the combination of roasted carrots and avocado. Was happy to see it chosen as tops in Food & Wine's article--well deserved!

Your comment "remembered after it is experienced" sums it up perfectly!

Pam said...

Oh my gosh, that is a gorgeous salad!!

Ramona JapaneseRedneck said...

I need to try roasting carrots. Keep forgetting to do them when I've got the oven on. Looks wonderful.

Teresa's New Life said...

GREAT statement and beautiful salad. I am enjoying a delicious salad right now! Shared from my neighbor- spelt, mango, onion and vinagrette dressing on spinach. Yummmm!

rosaria williams said...

A wonderful salad and a delicious dressings made to order. Full of good vitamins, through and through.

Anonymous said...

I love cumin! If this is as good as it looks, you've done a very good deed.

Big Dude said...

Well said Velva

That Girl said...

I can't imagine what my life would be like without the regular inclusion of salads!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

If both food and wine and you recommend this salad it must be special! I love roasted carrots!

Angie Schneider said...

Those roasted carrots look great. I love the flavours of this fresh seasonal salad, Velva.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

This sounds yummy! I got carrots in my CSA box this week. On top of the ones I already had in the fridge, I've been wondering what to do with them!

Joanne said...

If there's one thing I hate, it's a boring salad...and if there's one thing I love, it's an exciting one! Love the sound of this with all these delicious flavors and mix-ins!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Bottled dressing? What's that? I love making my own dressings and citrus gives such a lovely zing to it. I never thought to use roasted carrots. This is far from boring.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Such a good looking salad. Avocado always adds so much creaminess to a salad.

Gloria Baker said...

aah look delicious Velva!

teresa said...

I must have this salad, it would make such a perfect lunch!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I have become fascinated by the versatility of "the salad" - it's such a creative outlet, and I love the challenge of combining colors, flavors and textures. The green and orange of the avocado and carrots is really eye-catching!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Velva, this salad looks amazing! I've been taking spinach salads to work for months, I love them! Have a great weekend!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I find that the extra time and effort to make a dish "different" is often worth it. This looks great and is making me want to have a salad for dinner tonight :)

Claudia said...

Love this Velva - always love a rich citrus brightener. And then the mellow avocado - and all the goodies. Besides, I never met a salad I couldn't fatten up - no diet food here. Just grand salads (and chocolate).

Zoe said...

Hi Velva,

This must-try salad looks gorgeous for its colour, texture and taste. Definitely worth the effort of assembling the long list of ingredients together.


tasteofbeirut said...

I'd love this salad! happens that `i bought both carrots and avocados last night, perfect!!

Blond Duck said...

Is it weird I only like avocados in guacamole?

Roz Corieri Paige said...

What a salad Velva and what a source of credibility in ranking this salad as one of the best! Sounds good to me and I'm one of those people who LOVES salads, craves salads, and savors every moment of eating salads! Thanks for the recipe!


Rebecca Subbiah said...

this looks amazing thanks for your encouraging comment on my last post means alot to me

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

I am SO loving the look and sound of this. Perfect for this time of year and so fresh!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Its avocado season her too and I've been looking for salad recipes - I love the spice combination

Chris said...

That isn't a simple lettuce and 'mater salad, now is it? I like it, especially the roasted carrot idea.

The Not So Perfect Housewife said...

Wow, it's been a long time since I've stopped by. Though I'm always following along and love all your pictures.
We are eating more and more veggies these days so salads are a staple for us here in my house.. and we love to experiment with toppings.
Love the roasted carrots idea!!

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