I love carrots — now more so than ever before, too.
That’s because during this unprecedented shelter-in-place mandate, I’ve been relying on delivery services to get all of my groceries.
As someone who’s used to combing through new cookbooks to hone in on an inspired recipe to try, then racing out the door to a grocery store or two to find just the right ingredients called for, this has been an adjustment.
Now, I let the ingredients solely dictate what I make. And because I only schedule deliveries once every 7 to 10 days, it requires a lot more planning. I covet peak-season produce, of course. But because so much of that is quite perishable, I also need a mix of sturdier fruits and veggies that will last at least until the next delivery.
That’s where carrots are a godsend. They hold up well in the crisper drawer for weeks, and they can be used in so many ways, both raw and cooked.
When I spied Nantes carrots available on GoodEggs, I knew I had to grab some. This French heirloom carrot is a favorite of Michelin-starred chef Ron Siegel of Madcap in San Anselmo. It was through his cooking that I first learned about these crunchy, candy-sweet orange carrots that have very little core inside. They’re not easy to find. The only other time I snagged some was a year or so ago when I spied them in the produce section of Draeger’s in Los Altos.
As luck with have it, armed with these impeccable carrots, I had everything else no hand to make “Honey-Roasted Carrot Salad with Arugula and Almonds.”
The recipe is from one of my favorite recipe developers, New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark. It’s from her cookbook, “Favorite Recipes from Melissa Clark’s Kitchen: Family Meals, Festive Gatherings, and Everything In-between”” (Running Press, 2018).
The cookbook contains more than 100 of Clark’s favorite recipes for both family and company, including dishes such as “Farro Pasta with Spicy Salami Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mint,” “Roasted Chicken Thighs with Apples, Gin, and Coriander Seeds,” and “Obsessive Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie.”
At its heart, this is a simple arugula salad dressed with a straightforward lemon-olive oil vinaigrette. What makes it special is the addition of carrots, cut into thick rounds, and roasted with a little honey, as well as almonds that get toasted and drizzled with honey, as well. The carrots, which act almost like croutons by providing textural interest here and there, get even sweeter when roasted. The almonds provide delightful crunch. The salad makes for a great balance of bitter and sweet.
I turned this salad into a substantial entree by topping it with a beautiful salmon fillet that was cooked in a saute pan with olive oil, butter, salt and pepper until the skin was crisp and the interior medium-rare.
I was fortunate to time my first delivery from the stellar Four Star Seafood to use the Ora King salmon I purchased in this dish.
San Francisco-based Four Star Seafood was established in 2015 by two talented chefs, Adrian Hoffman and Ismael Macias, who met while working for the Lark Creek Restaurant Group. They teamed up to source the freshest, best seafood to sell to local restaurants. When shelter-in-place took effect, they pivoted to sell online to the public, as well, and even expanded their offerings to include locally grown produce, eggs, cheese, meats, and gourmet specialty ingredients such as Japanese cherry blossom shoyu.
Four Star Seafood now does home delivery throughout most of the Bay Area with a minimum purchase of $150. The seafood is incredible, as are the prices. I paid $13.90 for two (6-ounce) fillets of that sustainably farmed New Zealand Ora salmon, which gets a thumbs up from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch Guide.” The salmon cooked up wonderfully rich and deeply flavorful. I also bought two (6-ounce) fillets of Alaskan halibut for $16.50. In comparison, I remember buying Alaskan halibut at a local seafood market last summer for $34 per pound!
The salmon atop the carrot salad made for a meal as impressive as anything I’d have at a nice restaurant.
Since it’s unlikely we can all enjoy a night out like that again anytime soon, this was the second best way to go.
Not bad at all from cooking from delivered groceries, I’d say.
Honey-Roasted Carrot Salad with Arugula and Almonds
For the salad:
1 pound carrots (about 5 medium), cut into 1⁄2-inch rounds
11⁄2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon plus 1 large pinch kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
2 bunches arugula (about 8 cups)
For the vinaigrette:
11⁄2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Make the salad: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, 11⁄2 tablespoons of the oil, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Spread the carrots in an even layer on a large baking sheet.
Roast, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the honey, the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, 1 teaspoon water, and the remaining pinch of salt. Toss the almonds with 11⁄2 teaspoons of the honey mixture and spread them on a small baking sheet.
Transfer the almonds to the oven; at the same time, pour the remaining honey mixture over the carrots. Roast until the carrots are tender and caramelized and the nuts are dark golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Let the nuts and carrots cool completely.
Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the oil until incorporated.
In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, carrots, and almonds. Add the vinaigrette and toss well to combine.
From “Favorite Recipes From Melissa Clark’s Kitchen” by Melissa Clark
More Carrot Recipes: Roasted Carrot Dip
And: Carrot Tarte Tatin