“I don’t think these are all that good” said Pavel, our Foxhollow CSA farmer, as he handed us a fat bunch of carrots at a recent market. We accepted the ill-omened roots as part of our share graciously, as the laws and customs of Gourmandistan forbid the flinging of substandard produce back into a farmer’s face. (Beware, visitor: unless you are a farmer, you have no absolute guarantee this custom will hold for you.) We like Pavel and his products, and usually think he underestimates himself. This time, we should have listened.
We used the carrots in a recipe from Nigel Slater’s Tender: A cook and his vegetable patch, a cookbook we’ll very likely mention again in the coming weeks. It’s a lovely edition, with beautiful photography, crisp and playful writing, and a clever balance between garden tips and interesting recipes. The only drawback, as Michelle pointed out, is that the vegetables Slater deals with are limited to those found in English gardens. Perhaps Britons this year have access to sweet carrots that would stand out in this silky side dish, where cream, yogurt, cashews and cilantro create a delicious setup. Unfortunately, our punch line was a tad bitter, as Pavel’s Summer carrots were, as advertised, not all that good. Of course, as is the custom in Gourmandistan, Steve ate a fairly large portion anyway—before practicing our sacred ritual of feeding the rest to the chickens.
“A SIDE DISH OF SPICED AND CREAMED CARROTS”
(adapted, only barely, from Nigel Slater’s Tender) (serves 4)
- A pound of so or carrots
- A thick slice of butter
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- About 1 TB of ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 or 2 minced green chiles
- 1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
- 4 TB cream
- 4 TB plain yogurt
- Salt and pepper
- 2 TB cashews, toasted in oven and coarsely chopped
- Handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
- Juice of half a lime
Peel carrots, then shred or grate them.
Heat butter in a frying pan. Add garlic, ginger, chiles and mustard seeds. Stir until fragrant, then add grated carrots. Cook until done, stirring occasionally.
Stir cream and yogurt together. Fold into cooked carrots. Season with salt and pepper.
Place carrots in a serving dish and top with cashews, cilantro and lime juice.