Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Salad of Roasted Carrots, Apple, and Lentils with Chile and Preserved Lemon

I’m always excited to flip through the pages of interesting flavor combinations in a new Diana Henry book. Her latest is From the Oven to the Table, and I received a review copy. She writes: “If you’re a throw-it-in-the-oven kind of cook, whether by necessity or desire, then this book is for you.” With these recipes, the oven does most of the work for you. The stovetop gets used a bit here and there to start a dish or to prep components to go with what’s roasting, but the real stars are the lovely things coming out of the oven. There are options that include whole meals roasted together on a sheet pan, a chapter just for chicken thighs, others just for vegetables, recipes for special occasions, and desserts. I have little flags sticking out of several pages in the vegetables, grains, and legumes chapters. And, I haven’t even marked pages for summer vegetables yet. Let me give you some examples of the mix of flavors I enjoyed seeing. There’s a whole roasted cauliflower with pistachio and preserved lemon relish and tahini, baked sweet potatoes with avocado and chimichurri, and roasted Indian-spiced vegetables with lime-cilantro butter to name a few. I want to roast some plant-based sausages with lentils and make the herb relish to spoon on top, and I definitely want to try to the baked rice with green olives, orange, feta, and dill. I got inspired by the roasted squash and tofu with soy, honey, chile, and ginger recipe and made it with sweet potatoes instead of squash. In the head note, there’s a suggestion to serve this with a hot Asian dressing, a lot like nuoc cham, found later in the book, and I happily followed that advice. And, I can’t wait to bring home some blood oranges and try the pomegranate molasses-roasted beets with oranges, walnuts, dill, and labneh, and I keep turning back to the page with roasted cabbage wedges with XO crumbs that's topped with seasoned sourdough rye breadcrumbs. I need more flags. Every time I turn the pages, I’m tempted by another recipe. Baked potatoes with smoked trout, dilled beets, creme fraiche, and salmon roe needs a flag. Before I get any more distracted, I want to tell you about the roasted carrot salad. 

This dish does involve cooking lentils on the stovetop unless you happen to have some already cooked and ready to use. With lentils at the ready, it all comes together very quickly. The carrots were trimmed but left whole and unpeeled. They were tossed with olive and salt and pepper before being arranged on a baking sheet and popped into a 400 degree F oven. They roasted for about 30 minutes until tender and well-browned. A dressing was made with apple cider vinegar in my case but white balsamic is suggested, olive oil, garlic, and grated fresh ginger. The cooked lentils were placed in a bowl with some finely sliced red chile and finely chopped preserved lemon, and that mixture was tossed with some of the dressing. An apple was cut into matchsticks and tossed with lemon juice. The roasted carrots were added to the apple matchsticks along with more preserved lemon and chile, some mint and cilantro leaves, and the remaining dressing. The carrot mixture was placed on top of the lentils to serve. 

In the book, it’s noted that the real surprise here is how good the apples are with the other flavors. I have to agree, but I couldn’t pick a favorite part of the salad. It was all delicious, and all the parts worked together so well. The book is full of great ideas, and I’ll be pulling it off the shelf often for meal inspiration.

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  1. Oh Lisa, this salad could be my main meal for sure...it is not only so pretty but tasty and packed with all kind of textures and flavors...I am loving the addition of apple and lemon preserve.
    I hope you are having a great week!

  2. The way you photographed these carrots is so fantastic, that I'd like to have it hanging on my wall as art! Not the photograph, but the actual carrots!!

  3. I agree-this is a very colorful photograph.All of the recipes that you mention make vegetables seem exciting and the star of the show!

  4. How lovely and fresh! These carrots are perfectly sized and your flavour suggestion with preserved lemon apple and chilli is brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing and the beautiful photograph :D

  5. So many of my favorite ingredients in one dish!! I love carrots, preserved lemons and lentils. A killer recipe.


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