We subscribe to a weekly organic veg box scheme from Abel and Cole and recently we have been receiving some unusually coloured produce. First came a veritable rainbow of squashes (I don't need to eat another squash for some time), then the almost neon orange cauliflower and now, these little beauties:
Apparently this is the colour that carrots used to be before orange became fashionable. Word has it that they are also even healthier than their regular orange cousins - they contain the same sort of antioxidants as blueberries and can therefore be classed in the 'superfood' category. I have to admit that I do find them rather splendid. I love the way that when you cut into them, you reveal the orange inner core.
Rather than serve them up alongside an ordinary weeknight dinner, I wanted to make them the centre of attention in a dish that was as pleasing on the eye as on the palate. Although it was chilly, the sun was streaming through the kitchen windows yesterday so I decided upon a sprightly salad to eat alongside some crusty bread and cold meat for a light lunch ahead of a hearty roast in the evening.
I cut the carrots into ribbons using a potato peeler and paired them with a sharp goats cheese (feta would work just as well), some toasted pine nuts, chopped fresh parsley and a classic vinaigrette. The colour definitely plays tricks with the mind - I kept expecting the carrots to taste of beetroot (they didn't). My husband said the multicoloured ribbons reminded him of Frazzles. I suspect he was a little disappointed that they tasted nothing like!
I loved this colourful salad and would make it again, perhaps with a mixture of different coloured carrots and vary the nuts (walnuts or cashews would work well, I think).
Purple carrot and goat's cheese salad
3 medium purple carrots
50g crumbled soft goat's cheese
small handful pine nuts
small handful flat-leaved parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp runny honey
pinch sea salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil
1. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until starting to brown - watch carefully as they burn very easily. Transfer to a small dish and set aside.
2. Peel the carrots into ribbons with a potato peeler and place in a bowl. Crumble over the cheese and sprinkle over the parsley.
3. Prepare the dressing: with a fork or tiny whisk, combine the mustard and honey with a good pinch of sea salt. Add the vinegar and whisk together. Add the oil and whisk until you have a smooth dressing. Season to taste with pepper and more salt if required. Alternatively, shake ingredients together in a sealed jam jar.
4. Drizzle over as much of the dressing as you like and gently and briefly toss together. Sprinkle over the pine nuts and serve.