Ryan and I are huge fans of Chef April Bloomfield. In fact, as you can probably tell from our posts, we spend a lot of time at her restaurants.
So, as you might imagine, we were very excited when we heard last year that Chef Bloomfield was releasing a book. The book, A Girl And Her Pig, is as expected, filled with great stories and excellent recipes.
One recipe, this carrot, avocado and orange salad, was a standout during dinner at the Spotted Pig last week, so when Ryan saw beautiful young carrots at the market, I knew right away that I wanted to recreate it at home.
The carrots are bathed in a blend of freshly-toasted spices, garlic paste and oil before heading into the oven for a long, slow roast. They come out slightly caramelized and creamy and then are paired with another favorite veggie of mine (or fruit, I suppose)—ripe avocados.
Carrot, Avocado, and Orange Salad
From A Girl And Her Pig
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
Coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
30 young carrots, unpeeled, 1/2″ of the green tops left on
3 small oranges
3 Hass avocados, chilled
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, pound garlic with a large pinch of salt until you have a wet, smooth paste.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic paste with cumin, coriander, red pepper, and 1/4 c. of olive oil. Stir well, then add carrots and toss until carrots are thoroughly coated. Add three large pinches of salt and toss again.
3. Place carrots in large baking dish in a single layer. Pour oil and spice mixture over them and spread evenly atop the carrots. Pour 1/4 c. of water into an empty spot in the casserole (so as not to wash off the spices) and tilt the dish so the water coats the bottom.
4. Cover tightly with foil and cook for about 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove foil and cook for about 35 minutes more or until carrots are lightly browned and tender.
5. While carrots cool slightly, peel oranges and segment as you would a lemon. Squeeze the segments into a small bowl and reserve the juice. Halve avocados lengthwise and remove the peel and pits. Slice them lengthwise into thick slices.
6. Put the avocado slices in a large mixing bowl and add the reserved orange juice, the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, and a healthy pinch or two of salt. Toss gently and well with your hands. Push the avocado to one side of the bowl. Add the carrots a handful at a time, scraping and tossing them in the liquid in the bowl before adding the next handful. Make sure to scrape out and add all the garlicky spices left in the baking dish. Toss it all together gently, being careful not to break the avocado slices.
7. Arrange the carrots, avocado, and orange segments on a platter or in a serving bowl. Top with the cilantro and serve immediately.
The components of the dish work surprisingly well together. The cool avocado contrasts the slightly sweet warm carrots and the citrus adds a little brightness. Don’t forget the cilantro at the end; it’s perfect for a bit of crunch!
We ate the salad as a light late lunch and it’s certainly filling enough, but can you imagine how perfect it would be served on a large platter as an appetizer at your summer dinner party? Or maybe on a cute salad plate like this?
Even though most people know Chef Bloomfield as a goddess of all things meaty or porky, I think Bloomfield’s prowess with veggies might be even greater. This salad is a great example, but the two plates of broccoli rabe I ate at the Breslin the other night work pretty well in Chef’s favor too.
Either way, if you’re looking for a new book to add to your shelf, A Girl And Her Pig will make for excellent summer reading.