As I said in my first book, carrots are my favourite vegetable. I have always done a version of carrots as a salad, and this is the new dish we have been doing now for some time. It was inspired by the second best-looking chef ever, after me – the sexy Darren Robertson, my good mate from Three Blue Ducks restaurant in Sydney. You’re a legend bud.
- 150 g (5½ oz) smoked yoghurt, or use plain yoghurt but don’t add the 30 ml (1 fl oz) milk below
- 30 ml (1 fl oz) milk
- 24 baby heirloom carrots, washed well, leafy green tops reserved for the pesto (see below)
- olive oil, for drizzling
Carrot top pesto
- 1 small handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves only, washed
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tbsp dukkah, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tbsp almonds
- 1 tbsp blonde sultanas (see glossary)
- 1 tbsp grated Parmesan
- good pinch of salt flakes
- 40 ml (1¼ fl oz) chardonnay vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey (I use honey grown on Melbourne city roof-tops)
- 160 ml (5½ fl oz) olive oil
- 2 tsp orange flower water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF). In a bowl, mix together the smoked yoghurt and milk. Set aside.
Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue to high. Place the green carrot tops in a bowl and drizzle with some olive oil. Char the carrot greens on the grill for a few minutes until all nicely browned, then remove and set aside for the pesto.
Now char the whole baby carrots for about 5 minutes, until nicely charred all over. Place on a baking tray and bake for 8–12 minutes, or until just tender, but still a bit crunchy.
To make the carrot top pesto, place the charred carrot tops in a blender with the parsley, garlic and a tablespoon or two of water. Blitz. Now add the dukkah, almonds, sultanas, Parmesan and salt and blitz again to form a paste. Add the vinegar, honey, olive oil and orange flower water and blitz again until smooth.
Once the carrots are cooked, cut them into random shapes, or just leave them whole. Place in a mixing bowl and dress with a good amount of the pesto.
Spread the smoked yoghurt around a serving plate, then top with the carrots and sprinkle with some extra dukkah. Serve with some more pesto on the side.
This is an edited extract from Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads by Matt Wilkinson, published by Hardie Grant (RRP $49.95), available in stores nationally.