Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Salad-of-Wonder

Have you read any good cookbooks lately? 

I have. 

I've been on a cookbook binge this month and I can't quite get my fill of all of the new cookbooks that have been produced over the last year. Happily, the local library is full-to-bursting with shelves of the latest and greatest in cookbookery, so other than the eventual late fees that I will pay in a few weeks, this habit of mine is quite economical. 

That is, until I come across a gem of a book that I can't bear to be without, then the price increases just a bit. 
Which leads us to my latest acquisition:

Melissa Clark is a Food Columnist for The New York Times Dining Section, which is not surprising--her writing is simply good reading. Each recipe in this book begins with an essay of sorts that introduces the dish or the style of food or the inspiration behind its creation. The food itself is simple and fresh, and different from my normal, everyday fare. Others have given the recipes credit for breathing new life into their dinner preparations.

I've read nearly all of the recipes and I heartily agree with the Boston-Globe's opinion of Ms. Clark's food philosophy,
Clark is a gifted raconteur, and a master of a special kind of combination headnote-and-essay that is uniquely her own. That would be enough for those of us who enjoy reading cookbooks. But it’s the recipes that really showcase her easy genius. 
Easy genius. That says it all!

Cook This Now is currently earning its keep on my cookbook shelves with a recipe called Honey-Roasted Carrot Salad with Arugula and Almonds. {Ingredient list and printable option are located at the end of the post.}

This simplest of salads and is composed in three stages. First, however, you need to preheat the oven to 400˚.

Part One:
Next, the carrots. Peel about 5 medium carrots and cut them into 1/2 inch rounds. Place them on a baking sheet (covered with parchment paper if you prefer) in a single layer and drizzle olive or canola oil over them (about 1 and 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons). Add to that a sprinkling for 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.

Toss the carrots to make sure all are well coated and place baking sheet in the oven for about 25 minutes. Stir the carrots about three times during the 25 minutes.

Part Two:
Time for the honey. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of water, and a large pinch of salt. Add the almonds and toss to coat. (**If you don't have almonds, make the salad anyway. The almonds add much to the taste, but the salad is delicious without them too.)

Add to the carrots in the oven during the last 5 to 7 minutes of cooking time and stir well. When carrots are caramelized and tender, remove from oven and allow them to cool completely.

Part Three:
Dressing anyone? Whisk the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of olive or canola oil and mix very well.

To assemble:
In a large salad bowl, add about 8 cups of arugula which is often sold in a plastic box-type container in the produce section with spinach mixed with it. The salad is still wonderful with the arugula/spinach mix, however it is at its absolute best with arugula alone.

To the arugula add the carrot and almond mixture and toss. Finally, drizzle the dressing over the entire bowl and toss to coat. Voila!  There you have it. Spring, in a bowl.

The first time I ate this salad was the first time I had encountered arugula on its own. The only other times I've eaten arugula have been when eating a mixed green salad or what my Man calls "Backyard Salad" so named because he thinks the greens look much like the weeds in our backyard.

Arugula, is so so so good. I'm seriously considering growing a crop this summer! I downed the entire salad in two sittings all by myself. I did share a bite with Kate who came asking for more a few hours later, but alas the Honey Roasted Carrot and Arugula Almond Salad-of-Wonder was history.

It's that good. 

{Printable Recipe HERE}

{Adapted very slightly from Cook This Now}

For the SALAD:
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 tablespoons canola oil (or olive oil)
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped**
2 bunches arugula (about 8 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup canola oil (or olive oil)


G'ma suz said...

How do you get slobber off a keyboard. . .didn't notice until I was done reading
gg g g
gg g g g g Mom

Sudeana said...

Wow that looks great! Will get ingredients and make for Mom next week!

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