I’m never going to eat like an Ascetic. I will never “eat to live.” I like the flavors too much, the textures, the history and culture imbued within a recipe, the miraculous synergy in combining disparate ingredients. I’m in love with food magic.
I’ve started up with a personal trainer again. A VEGAN personal trainer. She blanched when I confessed to my culinary vices, my food blog, my ability to eat an entire pie on a long, lazy Sunday.
She has her work cut out. I’ve decided to help a bit – just a bit – by adding a few veggie-rich meals to my unmistakably carb-heavy diet. I need help – creative vegetable combining is not my forte (yet). Give me flour, sugar and butter and I’ll whip you up something crave-worthy. Give me a head of cabbage and I’ll probably make coleslaw.
That’s where my most recent purchase comes in – Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden. If this first recipe is any indication, I’m. In. Love.
Carrots, Olives and Dates? Who would have guessed – absolute food magic.
Carrot, Olive and Date Salad
I wish I could claim this as my own creation, but alas, it's not. This is a slightly adapted version of Joshua McFadden's recipe and so much more than the sum of its parts.
- 1 lb. rainbow carrots, trimmed and peeled
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or Urfa Chili
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped pitted Nicoise or other nice black olives
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped pitted Castelvetrano or other nice green olives
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 4 Tablespoons white Modena Vinegar (available at Trader Joe’s)
- ½ cup lightly packed roughly chopped Italian parsley
- 1 cup crème fraiche
- Shaved Parmesan
- If the carrots are large, split them lengthwise. Cut them on a sharp angle so you have angled ¼-inch thick carrot pieces. In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, combine a bit of olive oil, ½ cup water, Aleppo pepper, salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add the carrots. Cook, uncovered, until the carrots are just crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Drain carrots and cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, combine olives, dates and carrots. Toss with vinegar. Taste and adjust with salt, black pepper, Aleppo pepper and vinegar until the flavor is super vibrant (you know you’ve hit it when you says “oh wow!”). Add parsley and a splash of good quality olive oil and toss again.
- On a large platter, smear crème fraiche in a round, flat, circle. Pile salad on top, leaving a bit of crème visible. Garnish with shaved parmesan and a grind or two of black pepper.