Thursday, May 11, 2006

Carrots, beets and tomatoes

Spring calls for refreshing salads. And sometimes a mosaic of various tastes and colors is better than tossing everything together! “Assiettes de crudités” (literally “raw vegetable plates”) can be served as an appetizer or even as a lunch on their own. The palette is almost infinite, from vibrant reds to bracing greens: sliced tomatoes of course, but also shredded carrots and red cabbage, cauliflower bouquets, sliced cucumber, lettuce, mâche… Green onions, olives and fresh herbs (chives, parsley…) can be used as condiments along with the inevitable vinaigrette dressing (or simply olive oil and lemon juice). Some cooked (but cold) veggies can also find their place among crudités although they don’t really belong here: diced beets, shredded celery root, sweet corn, macédoine salad (a mix of boiled green peas, green beans, diced carrots and turnip coated with mayonnaise)… Even non-veggie ingredients make their way to the dish: hard-boiled eggs, anchovies. The important thing is to dress a good-looking dish that emphasizes the variety of shapes, colors and flavors. And with so many options, you can have a brand new appetizer each time!

On my plate the other day were simply tomatoes, spiced carrots and beets. I cooked the carrots and beets the day before since they needed some time to cool down.

The carrots (skinned and thinly sliced) simmered in water (3 cups water for about 2 pounds carrots) with olive oil (3 tbsp), crushed cumin seeds (1 tsp), Cayenne pepper (a pinch), garlic (1 clove, crushed) and salt (a pinch) until all the water evaporated (a good 30 minutes on medium heat). The empty pan was then deglazed with red wine vinegar (2 tbsp) and this juice was poured over the carrots.

The beet root was boiled (whole, with skin) in a pressure cooker (in salted water, for 30 minutes after the whistle started blowing), then sliced (1/2” thick) then cut into 1/2”x1/2” squares.


Elvira said...

Tout ça sent bon le soleil!

Ivonne said...

That is a most attracive and delicious dish! And you're right it's all you need for a satisfying and memorable meal.

Well done and nice picture!

Estelle said...