It is hard to explain the thrill of pulling up a bunch of frilly, unassuming green leaves that bring with them a fat, gorgeous carrot. Because these vegetables grow underground, it's always a delight to discover the carrots that have developed while hidden from view. Freshly picked carrots also have an amazing sweetness and rich flavor, something that cannot usually be said of store-bought carrots. In fact, carrots are one of the many vegetables whose reputation (and flavor) have been destroyed by mass production, where size and uniformity have been preferred over taste and variety. For the home vegetable gardener, there is a huge assortment of carrots available in many colors, shapes and sizes. Don't think that growing carrots is a waste of time. It really is worth the effort because fresh-picked carrots are easy to grow, ornamental in the garden, loaded with flavor, and of course, they're ridiculously good for you too. We can't promise your neighbors will share your excitement when you bring over your freshly-picked carrots for show and tell (we admit that ours weren't), but they may be converted once they actually taste your carrots (ours were).
Carrot varieties are categorized by their shape. The Hybrid Coral carrots we are now harvesting are a Chantenay-type, which is the quintessential shape everyone associates with carrots from the grocery, pictures and even Bugs Bunny cartoons. This type of carrot has wide shoulders which taper down to a point; they also grow well in heavy soil, a plus for many gardeners in our area. Hybrid Coral in particular is known for its reddish-orange color, vigorous growth, and disease resistance. These carrots also have an excellent, sweet flavor and dense, moist texture that is never mealy like some carrots.
Because home-grown carrots have so much flavor, they can assume the starring role in a dish rather than playing the usual supporting part. If you tend to use carrots just to make soup stock, to add some color to a salad, or for other mundane purposes, this recipe may surprise you. The carrots are so delicious, even without the rest of the sandwich, that you'll want to eat them by the pound. That is until you turn orange from beta-carotene overload. A small sacrifice in the name of the humble but oh-so-delicious carrot.
Moroccan Carrot and Hummus Sandwich
makes 2 sandwiches, with extra hummus for other purposes
1/2 lb carrots, washed, peeled, green tops removed
1 Tbs olive oil, plus more for pan
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, sliced very thinly
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs cumin
juice of 2 1/2 to 3 lemons
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5 Tbs tahini
sea salt and black pepper
4 slices sourdough or similar bread
1/4 English cucumber, sliced into 1/8" rounds
1/8 lb ricotta salata, crumbled
- Place carrots in large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, cooking until slightly tender but not too soft, about 15 minutes.
- Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- When cool, slice diagonally into 1/4"-thick rounds.
- Heat some olive oil in saute pan and cook carrot slices in small batches until slightly brown.
- In a mixing bowl, combine olive oil, carrots, and all remaining ingredients. Refrigerate at least one hour, or for best results overnight, before using. Return to room temp before using.
- Place chickpeas in sauce pan and cover with water. Add 1 Tbs cumin and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Drain but RESERVE 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
- Combine chickpeas, 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, 3 ice cubes, most of the lemon juice, garlic and tahina in food processor and process until smooth. If too thick, add more cooking liquid. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
- This recipe makes more than needed for the sandwich.
- After carrots and hummus are prepared, toast bread. Spread hummus on 2 slices of bread. Spread carrots on top, then add cucumber slices. Crumble ricotta salata on top, and finish with remaining toasted bread.
Other Sandwiches from Vegetable Matter:
Taleggio Melt with Escarole and Fig Jam
Panini with Anjou Pears, Brie, Caramelized Walnuts, Arugula Pesto Mayo
Caramelized Apple Melt with Aged Cheddar and Arugula
French Breakfast Radish and Mache Sandwiches
Green Apple, Brie and Caramelized Onion Panini
Grilled Eggplant, Haloumi and Arugula Sandwich