Do you ever wonder what chefs cook at home? Some admit to doing little to nothing in their own kitchens, but for Elizabeth Falkner, cooking at home helps her unwind after a frenetic day in a busy, professional kitchen. In her new book Cooking Off the Clock: Recipes From My Downtime, the restauranteur and former Top Chef Masters competitor offers up creative takes on old favorites and tips for pulling together delicious meals from pantry staples. Here’s a sneak peek at a colorful salad that makes use of all of those brilliant carrots piled high on farmers’ market tables this time of year.
I love using baby carrots in assorted colors. Thumbelina carrots, which are little and stubby, are great for roasting. I use red, orange, yellow, and white carrots for the ribbons, which make this salad so vibrant. Even just the orange variety next to the green of the avocado and mizuna makes a beautiful and colorful salad. Toasting whole cumin seeds and then grinding them in a mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder is essential for the great taste of this vinaigrette. If you don’t have either way of grinding spices, you can substitute cumin powder. This salad rocks from the contrast between the soft texture and caramelized sweetness of the roasted carrots and their raw and crunchy counterparts. –Elizabeth Falkner
Roasted and Raw Carrot Salad with Avocado and Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette
2 bunches (about 10 ounces total) baby carrots in assorted colors, tops trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ripe avocado
2 cups mizuna, watercress, ancho cress, or arugula greens
Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
Have an ice bath (a bowl of ice water) ready. Using a vegetable peeler, peel ribbons of carrots from half of the carrots. Place in the ice water to chill (the ribbons will curl after a while in the water).
Place the remaining whole carrots on a baking sheet; drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the edges start to caramelize, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside at room temperature. Lower the oven temperature to 350˚F.
Toast the pine nuts in the oven for about 10 minutes or in a small pan on the stove top over medium-low heat, shaking constantly, until brown and fragrant; pour into a bowl to cool and set aside. Toast the cumin seeds in a small sauté pan over medium heat, tossing or stirring constantly until fragrant, and then pour quickly into a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind into a powder. Alternatively, use ground cumin.
For the dressing, in a medium bowl, whisk the cumin with the lemon and lime juices, salt, and pepper; slowly whisk in the 1/4 cup olive oil.
Remove the carrot ribbons from the ice water and pat dry with paper towels. Peel, pit, and slice the avocado.
Divide the avocado slices and roasted carrots among 4 salad plates. In a bowl, toss the carrot ribbons and greens in the dressing, and divide among the plates.
Sprinkle a few pine nuts on each salad and serve.
Reprinted with permission from Cooking off the Clock: Recipes from My Downtime by Elizabeth Falkner, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.