Dirt to Table Experience: A Salad that is Dressed to Impress- A Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing

PUBLISHED ON: 04.12.2013

You can create a salad with incredible flavors, colors and textures.  A good salad is worthy of recognition and is remembered after it is experienced.

There are so many people who have no relationship with salad-they consider it a “diet food” something they should eat  “more of”  they purchase a couple of “on sale” bags of lettuce along with a bottle of processed salad dressing and call it salad.  We expect more of the same with our entree at the local feeding trough too.   Yet salad is so deeply ingrained into our food culture and somewhere along the way we have forgotten how to enjoy it, and more importantly forgotten how to give salad our best ingredients.

According to Food and Wine Magazine this salad won their “Best-Ever” First Course Salad.  I can believe it.  It takes a little extra-time, there are a few extra ingredients, but when it comes together you realize what salad is all about-

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing
Serves 6
Recipe from Jaime Oliver

1 pound medium carrots
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 fresh red chili
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 orange,  halved
1 lemon, halved
Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of ciabatta bread
3 Hass avocados-pitted, peeled and cut into 6 edges each
8-ounces assorted greens, such as watercress, spinach or mesclun
2 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons unsalted roasted sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
3 tablespoons low-fat sour cream mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
1.  Preheat the oven to 375degrees F.  Bring a deep skillet of salted water to a boil.  Add the carrots and simmer, covered over moderately low heat until crisp-tender, 10 minutes.  Drain and transfer the carrots to a large roasting pan.
2.  In a mortar, crush the cumin seeds, chile pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Add garlic and thyme and pound into a paste.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar.
3.  Pour the cumin dressing over the carrots and toss.  Add the orange and lemon halves to the roasting pan, cut side down.  Roast for about 25 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
4.  Meanwhile, toast the ciabatta until the edges are golden brown.  Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and, in a large bowl, gently toss with avocados, greens and arugula.  In a small bowl, combine the sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds.
5.  Using tongs, squeeze the hot orange and lemon halves into a measuring cup until you have about 1/3 cup of juice.  Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1/3 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add the warm carrots to the bowl along with the citrus dressing and toss to coat.  Transfer the salad to plates and drizzle with the sour cream.  Sprinkle the salad with the seed mixture and serve.

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