Make it Naked


Carrot, Olive and Feta Salad

I know we’ve just met, but I’m taking you on vacation!

You’re welcome.

This is no Oprah-sized, John Travolta’s flying us to Australia type vacation. But you can still scream like a banshee for 10 minutes straight and toss confetti around your living room if you’d like….you’ll just have to clean it up.

There’s no private jet. Actually, there’s no jet for you at all. I’m flying to Sonoma so you don’t have to. You stay right there. I’m bringing wine country to you. No flights next to unruly children reenacting WWE Smack Down. No wearing the entire week’s clothing at once to avoid checked baggage fees. You get to experience Sonoma’s finest without the hangover or the purple teeth.

You’re welcome.

Sonoma is known, of course, for wine but is also home to thriving farmer’s markets, dairy farms and olive oils. Olives have become the area’s second harvest, and the dairy farms provide for the majority of the area’s milk, butter and cheese. This salad really embodies the best of Sonoma. The fresh carrots, salty olives and feta all come together under an herb saturated olive oil. Did you just toss more confetti? You should.

This recipe is from The New Cook’s Tour of Sonoma. I purchased this book to learn which dairy farms make the best cheese, which roadside barn to stop in for lunch, which hotel serves homemade soft-serve ice cream drizzled with olive oil and topped with cocoa nibs. What…you don’t book your travel based on the local ice cream selection? But to my very pleasant surprise, this book offered more. The back half is a collection of recipes from Michele Anna Jordan, chef, author and  James Beard Award Recipient. So, from the gardens, farms and dairies of Sonoma, I bring you the best tasting stay-cation you’ve ever experienced.

You’re welcome.

The original recipe calls for steamed carrots, but I roasted them to bring out more of their natural sweetness. The roasted carrots work so well with the salty flavors of the cheese and olives. And by “so well”, I mean, you need to make this now. Do not disregard this as “just a salad” because I promise you, it’s not. The flavors are big, the colors are beautiful, and it deserves more respect than to be categorized with the likes of bagged iceberg lettuce.

I know what you’re thinking. This girl is so nice. She’s willing to submit to a full-body scan and fly all the way across the country just to let me enjoy the tastes of Sonoma in the comfort of my own home.

Don’t worry about me. I’ll be wine fine.

 

Carrot, Olive and Feta Salad
serves 4-6

2 pounds medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and chopped
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for roasting
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1 cup oil-cured black olives, chopped
6 ounces feta cheese, chopped

Directions

  1. Toss carrots in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Spread onto a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes in a 350° oven until tender. The cooking time will vary according to the thickness of your carrots. Be careful not to overcook.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and herbs.
  3. Once the roasted carrots are cooled to room temperature, toss together the carrots, olives, feta, and olive oil mixture.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to two days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Posted on November 16, 2010


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