November 9, 2012
Spicy Moroccan carrot salad AND Quinoa salad with persian lime
Page 14 and 245, Ottolenghi
I am so grateful for this year of Plenty. My life has been full of friends, love, joy, and really delicious food. My dear HD is in town for a bit between leaving her job in Illinois and heading to new and exciting adventures in Washington state. We spent part of the unseasonably warm November evening outside – she trimmed back all of the raspberry bushes and put the garden to bed for the year while I took a quick walk down the street to deliver squash cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting to some friends/neighbors who just had a gorgeous new baby this week. On the walk, I was struck by how much the landscape has changed in the last week or so. All of the leaves are well and truly fallen and my favorite tree by the creek is back to it’s naked splendor for the winter. The creek itself had some maintenance recently – the city thinned the trees that line its bank – and my initial sadness transitioned quickly to amazement as I saw the way light now falls on the creek, reflecting the remaining trees in the water. It was a lovely way to end a very long and difficult work week, to be able to marvel at the changing world around me as I headed home to make dinner for HD and my lovely wife to celebrate all of the transitions in our worlds.
And what a dinner it was! Two of the Ottolenghi salad recipes that I have been drooling over for months in one evening. There was a pretty intense debate about which of the two was our favorite – I think that I was outvoted by HD and the missus who both *really* liked the carrot salad, while my clear choice was the quinoa salad (really more of a pilaf in my opinion, but delicious no matter what the name!).
Quinoa is another of those foods that B did not enter this year with much affection for, but that she publicly declared her love for after this dish. The salad is a mixture of basmati and wild rice (I used red rice left over from another recipe to replace the wild rice) along with the quinoa. To the grains, Ottolenghi adds roasted sweet potato and fried garlic slices/herbs, which add softness and crunch. The major flavor (hence the name) is supposed to come from dried Persian lime that has been ground into a powder. Alas, dried Persian limes were not to be found in our fair hamlet, HOWEVER in my searching I came across finger limes! And they are AMAZING. They are sometimes called the caviar of citrus fruit, because their translucent, greenish-white or pinkish vesicles are round and firm, and pop on the tongue like caviar, releasing a flavor that combines lemon and lime with green and herbaceous notes (or so says the NYTimes- and I happen to agree). So rather than dried persian lime powder, the salad was full of these fabulous tiny globes of limey flavor – and it was a major win for a replacement. FIND these and use them immediately if you know what is good for you. (I found them at the Hive, by the way)
Spicy Moroccan carrot salad
2 pounds carrots
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 serrano chile, finely chopped (and seeded, if you want less heat)
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon
2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, plus extra to garnish
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, chilled
1. Peel the carrots and cut them, depending on their size, into cylinders or semicircles one-half-inch thick; all the pieces should end up roughly the same size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until tender but still crunchy, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and leave to dry out.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion over medium heat until soft and slightly brown, about 12 minutes. Add the cooked carrots to the onion, followed by the sugar, garlic, chile, onion, cloves, ground ginger, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, vinegar and preserved lemon.
3. Remove from the heat. Season liberally with salt, stir well and leave to cool.
4. Before serving, stir in the cilantro, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve
in individual bowls with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of oil and a garnish of the extra cilantro
Quinoa salad with persian lime
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
7 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 cup wild rice blend
1 cup quinoa
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 Tbs. sliced fresh sage leaves
3 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh oregano
6 oz. crumbled feta
4 green onions (green parts only), thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
6 Tbs. sliced fresh mint
2 Tbs. ground dried Persian lime
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 | Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; spread sweet potatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with 31/2 Tbs. oil; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Roast 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.
2 | Cook rice blend according to package directions; drain. Cook quinoa in pot of boiling salted water; drain. Transfer rice and quinoa to large mixing bowl.
3 | Heat remaining 31/2 Tbs. oil in small skillet over medium heat. Fry garlic slices in oil 30 seconds. Add sage and oregano, and stir-fry 1 minute. Pour oil and herbs over grain mixture. Add remaining ingredients and sweet potatoes, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and garnish with green onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.