Burnt carrot salad: best salad of your life?

Burnt carrot salad: best salad of your life?

This salad might sound OK, something you might try, maybe. It might sound kind of ordinary, but it’s actually quite the opposite. After I made if for my boyfriend, someone I had to win a bet with in order to get him to eat a salad for the first time, he couldn’t stop singing it’s praises. “You know I don’t really love salads, I mean yours are good and all, but this is great, I would eat this every day, hands down.” Yeah, that’s a ringing endorsement from a non-salad fan.

I’ve adapted this recipe from an Argentinian grilling recipe, by making it simpler. I’m not frying goat cheese, no thanks. I also like this salad because it takes an ingredient I usually use as a background flavor and brings it way up front: carrots. With this salad, you caramelize, sort of pan fry carrots to get a great crispy crust that brings out the carrots’ sweetness. Really, this is fancy dinner-worthy, cheap, and easy to make. I’d even say it’s healthy.

Budget: $7 to serve 4 people. Yup, that’s $1.75 a serving, I can eat it as a main course but since it’s a salad, and you’ve saved so much money, of course it works well as a side too.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet meals.

Ingredients:

  • 8 carrots – budget 2 per person (about $1.25)
  • dried or fresh thyme, teaspoon of dried, tablespoon of fresh (pantry)
  • 6 oz of arugula, one package ($4)
  • 3 oz of goat cheese ($4 for 8 oz, $1.5 for serving)
  • a few cloves of garlic or a shallot (pantry)
  • tbs of canola oil (pantry)
  • drizzle of olive oil (pantry)
  • drizzle of vinegar of your choice – I like red wine/sherry, don’t think balsamic would work well here (pantry)
  • dash of salt and pepper

Total: $6.75, for a really, seriously great salad.

Method:

  • Peel carrots, chop into matchstick size pieces (about 3 inches long, and then quartered).

    Carrots caramelized

    Carrots caramelized

  • Heat oil in pan until shimmering. Add carrots, making sure they are in one layer, with each carrot piece touching the pan.
  • Add thyme to the pan.
  • Let carrots cook until brown, almost burnt, on the side down – this takes about 5 minutes. Flip carrots and let cook on other side for another 5 minutes until again, almost brown/burnt. (PS – I made this just for me when I took the pictures, so if you make it for 4 people you’re going to have a lot more carrots and might have to cook them in batches, it’s really key that there’s only one layer in the pan.)
  • While carrots are cooking, mince garlic/shallot – add to salad bowl with arugula and goat cheese.
  • When carrots are done, add to arugula and drizzle sparingly with olive oil and vinegar (this salad does not need a lot of dressing) and sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together.
  • Eat the best salad ever, according to my boyfriend at least. The warm carrots melt the goat cheese and the texture, as well as the flavor, of the carrots are fabulous.