Heirloom carrots with yogurt and almond-honey dressing
Don’t you love summer vegetables? I get so excited at the markets and come home with piles of produce, often with more than I can reasonably cook. This week carrots were the highlight. Organic, heirloom thumbelina and other mini carrots of exceptional quality straight from the grower and of course, irresistible to me.
As it happened I had lunch at Cedar Creek the other day, a local winery now owned by Mission Hill Family Estate and for first course ordered a dish of carrots served on a smear of creme fraiche with a simple sauce and a few greens on top. I didn’t take a picture of the dish, I should have, but I am trying to quit this habit. With this dish in mind I looked for additional inspiration in my collection of cookbooks and found something in the book Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables by Matt Wilkinson, a Yorkshire born chef now based in Melbourn, Australia. “Please try it” said Wilkinson of this dish, and I consented.
Wilkinson cooks the carrots in boiling water then pours over the sauce and serves them on top of yogurt. I steamed the carrots (roasting can also work) to a nice al dente so they maintained a soft crunch. I made the dish twice now, once with yogurt, once with creme fraiche, both work beautifully although the yogurt is a little more tangy and offsets the sweetness of the carrots and sauce nicely. I had some leftovers (I cook for a crowd) and the next day added roasted yellow beets to the carrots and made another beautiful dish from what was left. The sauce was more than you would need for one serving, so keep the rest in a jar in the fridge.
Are you going to try it? Wilkinson says you should.
Almond honey dressing:
3/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons liquid honey
1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon orange flower water
Juice of one medium sized lemon
A pinch of hot pepper flakes
1/3 cup fruity olive oil
Steam the carrots until done to your liking. I suggest to keep them al dente.
To make the dressing place almonds and butter in a 4 cup pot and heat until the butter begins to foam. Lower heat and let the butter brown lightly (this is called beurre noisette and has a lightly nutty flavour).
When the butter has a nice golden colour add the honey and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.
Add the vinegar, orange flower water and lemon juice and continue cooking for about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, add the pepper flakes and sea salt.
Assembling the dish:
You can serve this on individual plates or on a large platter.
Spoon some of the dressing over the carrots when are still warm.
Spoon the yogurt or creme fraiche on the plates or platter.
Distribute the carrots over the yogurt.
Drizzle more sauce over.
Garnish with edible flowers, micro greens or small basil leaves.