chef tal’s spicy moroccan carrot salad
- 1 1/2 lbs small rainbow carrots (about 24), tops trimmed
- 1/4 cup micro greens
- 1/4 cuprosemary-fried almonds (recipe follows) or toasted Marcona almonds, smashed
- flaked sea salt
- 8 dried red chilies, such as guajillo, stems removed
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tspkosher salt
- 1/2 tspblack pepper, freshly ground
- 1/2 tspred pepper flakes
- 1/2 cupextra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup expeller-pressed canola oil
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stem and coarsely chopped
- 2 cupswhole Marcona almonds
- 1 tspkosher salt
1. To prepare the carrots: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding a tray of ice cubes.
2. Blanch the carrots in the boiling water until tender when pierced with a knife, about 3 minutes. Drain the carrots and plunge into the ice bath to shock them—i.e., stop the cooking and cool them quickly; this procedure also locks in the carrots’ bright color.
3. Drain the carrots again. You want them to be relatively uniform in size, so if any of them are large, cut them lengthwise in half.
4. To prepare the marinade: Put a small dry skillet over low heat, add the chilies, and toast for 1 or 2 minutes; shake the pan so they don’t scorch. Break up the chilies and put them in a food processor. Pulse the chilies to a coarse powder; you should have about ½ cup.
5. Put the chili powder in a mixing bowl, add the vinegar, garlic, cumin, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and whisk until blended. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil in a stream until emulsified.
6. Put the carrots in a mixing bowl and pour in the chili mixture, tossing to coat. Marinate for 1 to 2 hours, tossing periodically. 7. To serve: Crisscross the carrots on a platter. Scatter the micro greens and almonds on top and season with flaked sea salt.
To Make the Almonds:
1. Put a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil, add the rosemary, and stir to infuse the flavor into the oil. Heat the oil to around 300°F. (You don’t need a thermometer for this: Drop an almond into the oil. When it sinks a bit, then floats right back to the top and starts sizzling, the oil is hot enough.) Once the oil is ready to go, add half of the almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until they are fragrant and toasted, 10 to 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the almonds from the oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle them with the salt while they are hot. Repeat with the remaining almonds. Use to top the marinated olives or serve as a snack.
Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen with Scot Jones (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.