Roasted and Fresh Baby Carrot Salad

Anne Quatrano is the award-winning chef behind four Atlanta restaurants: Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe, Quinones, and Abattoir—as well as the Star Provisions market. This recipe is featured in her first cookbook, Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality


Photo credit: Brian Woodcock/Rizzoli

Roasted and Fresh Baby Carrot Salad
by Anne Quatrano
Serves 6

Though we recommend using young, small carrots for this recipe, we are definitelynot referring to the peeled and bagged nubs sold as “baby carrots” in the supermarket. Traditional orange carrots make for a bright, beautiful salad, but you can also add visual interest by using heirloom varieties in shades of purple, yellow, and white.

We roast some of the carrots and leave some of them raw, creating a wonderful contrast in flavor and texture between the sweet, slightly soft, roasted carrots and the fresh, crunchy raw curls. Pistachios and pumpkin seeds add a pleasing crunch; you could just use one or the other, but the two flavors together are even more interesting. Pecans or sesame seeds would also work well. For me, the coriander seeds bring the whole dish together—something about their flavor both highlights and rounds out the earthiness of the carrots.

To assemble the salad, begin with the humble-looking roasted carrots on the bottom and build from there. If you are unable to find carrots with their tops still attached, watercress would also make a nice garnish.

3 lbs. baby carrots (about 24), cleaned and peeled
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dry white wine, such as a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
¼ tsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. coriander seeds
½ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
½ cup pistachios
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
Pea shoots, for garnish
Carrot greens or watercress, stemmed, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Toss 14 of the carrots with 1 tablespoon of the oil and salt to taste. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. While the carrots roast, combine the raisins, wine, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over low until the raisins are plump, about 10 minutes. Drain off any remaining liquid and discard.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups ice and 2 cups cold water to make an ice bath. Use a mandolin with the safety guard or a sharp knife to shave the remaining carrots lengthwise as thin as possible. Place the shaved raw carrots in the ice bath to help the carrots curl and stay crisp.

Lightly toast the coriander seeds over medium heat in adry nonstick pan just until they become fragrant, about3 minutes. Crush them slightly in a mortar and pestle or with the flat side of a chef’s knife and set aside. Toast the pumpkin seeds in the same way until just fragrant, about 3 minutes. Roughly chop and set aside. Toast the pistachios in the same way until just fragrant, about 5 minutes. Roughly chop and set aside.

Whisk together the coriander, lemon juice, honey, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add the roasted carrots, raisins, and pistachios and toss. Transfer to the center of a serving platter. Drain the carrot curls and scatter on top, along with the pumpkin seeds. Garnish with pea shoots and carrot tops and serve.

© Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Quatrano, Rizzoli New York, 2013.

Need more veggies? Try these recipes out:
Fall Detox Foods and Recipes
The Best Way to Cook Collard Greens
Throw an All-Pumpkin Halloween Dinner Party

Do you ever cook with carrots? Let us know the various ways you use them!