carrots, all dressed up

every weekend en route to the dupont farmer's market, i walk by kramer books and make a mental note of all the books i need to add to my library request list. it's quiteeee a long one. despite my best efforts to check off books faster than i add them, i can't keep up, but there are certainly worse problems to have. for years now, ottolenghi's beautiful cookbooks - forever on display in kramers' front window - have always caught my eye, so i'm shocked it's taken me this long to actually cook one of his recipes. his style of cooking is right up my alley - vibrant colors, middle eastern flavors, veggies as the star of the show, ahh! i need.

i had really high expectations because the build up to ottolenghi has been a long timing coming. but, this recipe was so simple and so stunning. this will certainly be the first in many more of his recipes to come. i hope you love it just as much as i did. 

matt and i served these honey-roasted carrots with pan seared salmon and a light goat cheese pasta (in retrospect, that sounds like a lot of food...). but, for a lighter option, i've found that the leftover carrots also work well tossed in a kale salad with extra tahini dressing, feta cheese, a nut of your choosing for crunch (i've used salted pumpkin seeds). the tahini dressing would probably also be fab as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries or brussels sprouts. 

tahini is a staple ingredient in the middle eastern diet, and it's certainly a staple in my kitchen too. it's a thick, creamy sesame paste that's essential in homemade hummus, but i also use it regularly to make salad dressings, drizzle on top of sweet potatoes when i need a heartier salad, or toss into greek yogurt for something more savory. i've even used it in sweet recipes, like hot chocolate (hey, molly yeh!) - you should try that too! tahini makes a regular appearance in ottolenghi's fabulous dishes. you can feast your eyes on the rundown of his many incredible tahini recipes here. the dressing for this roasted carrot dish is a simple whisk of tahini, lemon, olive oil, greek yogurt and garlic. if you haven't had tahini before, this is a great way to get a feel for its versatility. 

honey roasted carrots with tahini yogurt dressing

recipe by yotam ottolenghi (with minor modifications on spices, herbs)

what you'll need:
3 tablespoons tahini paste
2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1, 1/2 teaspoons zaatar spice
3 thyme sprigs
a few cracks of black pepper
12 large carrots, peeled and each cut crosswise into two 2 1/2-inch/6-cm batons
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

what you'll do:

  1. preheat the oven to 425°F.

  2. in a small bowl, whisk together tahini paste, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt. cover, set aside.

  3. in a large bowl, mix together honey, olive oil, zaatar spice and thyme (removed from stems) and a grind or two of black pepper with a fork. pour carrot batons into bowl, and toss until coated with honey/olive oil blend. transfer to large baking sheet and spread out evenly. roast in oven for 35-40 minutes.

  4. a few minutes before carrots come out of the oven, pour 2-3 teaspoons of warm water into tahini/yogurt sauce and whisk in. your tahini sauce will be fairly thick, so adding in warm water will help make it a bit more saucy and easier to pour.

  5. serve roasted carrots on a large serving platter, with tahini sauce drizzled on top, scattered with parsley leaves.