This week's recipe is a simple enough to be a weeknight staple, but it packs a ton of flavor. I also love it because it represents a general approach I like to take to making vegetable dishes– first we cook the vegetable itself, and then we layer different textures, flavors, and elements on top of that.
These layers can take the form of spices, sauces, nuts and seeds, cheeses, yogurt, pickled vegetables, vinegars, fresh herbs, and a bunch more. It's all about working in different elements and playing with fat, acidity, heat, freshness, saltiness, umami, and more to build complexity and deliciousness.
We don't want forgettable vegetable "side dishes." We want amazing, multi-dimensional plates that are as exciting as any piece of meat on the table.
I'm using carrots here, as they recently popped up at my local farmer's market. But this recipe works with basically any roasted root vegetable. I've done it with sweet potatoes, fennel, and beets, and I'm sure it would work great with many others.
First, we're going to slowly roast the carrots. This will allow the naturally present sugars to caramelize and develop. We'll layer those on top of a lemony yogurt sauce that will bring acidity and creaminess. We'll top them with chopped pistachios for saltiness and crunch, and then we'll finish it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (umami and sweetness) and extra virgin olive oil (richness and fat).
Carrots are delicious on their own, but here you get something that hits a bunch of different notes at once. I hope you'll love it as much as I do.
As always, if you've got any questions don't hesitate to reach out!
- 1 bunch of carrots, cleaned and tops removed
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon - juice and zest
- several tbsp pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
- high-quality balsamic vinegar (I highly recommend this option from Chef Massimo Bottura. I've heard good things about Brightland, as well).
- olive oil
Start by pre-heating your oven to 375°.
Spread the carrots onto a sheet tray. Drizzle them with olive oil and season them with salt. Shake them to make sure they're covered with both, and then spread them out on the sheet tray.
Put them into the oven to cook. Depending on the size of your carrots, they should cook for 25-40 min. Shake the pan a couple of times throughout the cooking process to allow them to roast on all sides.
They'll develop a nice caramelized exterior, and they'll be soft on the inside and cooked through. Once they seem close, just cut one open to check.
While the carrots are roasting, prepare your yogurt base.
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, juice and zest of one lemon, and a pinch of salt. Mix it together, taste, and add more salt or lemon as needed.
Side note– if you happen to have preserved lemon paste at home, you could use a couple tsp of that instead of the lemon juice and zest. Preserved lemon paste is made from fermented lemons, and it's really delicious.
Once the carrots are finished roasting, you're ready to layer up your plate.
Start by spreading out a thin bed of the lemon yogurt on the bottom. Stack the carrots on top, then top with the chopped pistachios and a drizzle of balsamic. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and you're ready to serve.