I saw rainbow carrots at the shops last week and was overcome with a compulsion to have them, as I loved the idea of cooking with these gorgeous little batons of beauty. They cost a little more than your standard baby orange carrot, taste about the same but look oh-so-pretty! I did not realise, at the time when I assembled this platter, that a popular food magazine on our shores, Food&Home, has a rainbow carrot salad for its cover. My salad was inspired by the glee of finally having such “exotic” (or heirloom) vegetables finally available in stores in Durban and nothing to do with a cooking mag, although they obviously did it much better!
For the dressing:
- 2 small free range egg yolks or 1 large one, at room temperature
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 2-3tbsp of lemon juice
- 1tbsp of white vinegar
- half a cup of canola or olive oil
- 1 cup of fresh basil
Whisk all the wet ingredients together. Add to blender or food processor with the salt and pepper and blitz. Taste, if too bland add a bit more salt, mustard and lemon juice. If too astringent, add a bit more oil.
For the salad:
- 1 punnet of baby rainbow carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup baby tomatoes (you can use mixed heirloom colours for this too, like yellow, orange and green)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- handful of fresh herbs, such as flat leaf parsley, dill or fennel
- 1 tsp course salt
- a pinch of freshly ground pepper
- Beetroot sprouts and edible flowers to garnish
Boil the carrots in the microwave in just enough water to cover them, for about 3 minutes. Drain. Add butter to frying pan on medium-high heat. When butter is melted, add the carrots and the sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes when sugar has dissolved and carrots are looking glossy. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Assemble salad ingredients, put cooled carrots on top and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with dressing and serve.