"Veggie candy" salad!
All right, I admit I am being a little inconsistent here, as I don't have all that much of a sweet tooth and generally strongly prefer not to find sweet flavors in my savory dishes.
But this roasted carrot salad - based on Louro’s Roasted Heirloom Carrot Salad With Miso Dressing by Melissa Clark in yesterday's New York Times - is an exception that proves the rule. Toothy, al dente bits of carrot, roasted (in my version) with black pepper and lots of ginger, turn into "vegetable candy" with a pure, subtle sweetness that speaks of the earth and gentle caramelization, not sugar (although in truth there is a homeopathic touch of brown sugar in the recipe).
I modified Clark's sauce approach as well, adding more fresh ginger and citrus juices while eliminating the rice wine and vinegar, to create something very much akin to the Japanese salad dressing that you'll find in just about every Japanese-American steakhouse and many sushi bars.
A bowl of simple leaf lettuce and a few Kumato tomato halves, a dab of the thick Japanese-style ginger sauce, a ration of the ginger-roasted carrots and a little more sauce made for a memorable Asian-accented salad. Veggie candy? Not exactly, but the carrot bits were as tempting as a box of chocolates, and the dish made a mamorable light dinner.
Here's a link to Clark's New York Times recipe:
http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1015954/ ... ssing.html
For my version, I peeled a half-dozen carrots and cut them diagonally into 1-inch lengths, then put them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon peanut oil, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste and a 1-inch chunk of peeled fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a chef's knife then chopped as fine as I could chop it. I tossed this carrot-and-spice combo, browned it in a little more peanut oil in a black-iron skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes, then popped it into a preheated 350F oven to finish roasting for 10 minutes more.
Meanwhile I made the sauce, somewhat similar to Clark's, as follows: Put 4 tablespoons white miso into a large measuring cup. Whisk it with 1 tablespoon each lemon juice, lime juice and freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce,1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and all the juice I could squeeze out of another 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, plus a little water to achieve a pourable texture. Total yield, about 1/2 cup, which provided enough for two salads and a bit left over for another day.
To assemble, I spread the roasted carrots on a plate and gave them 15 minutes in the fridge to cool, then plated atop leaf lettuce and sliced Kumato tomatoes and dressed with a little of the sauce on the lettuce, then the carrots, and finally a little more sauce on top.
Veggie Candy! Who needs chocolates?