Roasted Carrot and Radish Salad with Honey Ricotta
June 23, 2022
With summer officially here, much of our entertaining has moved outside with meals centered around savory delights cooked on the grill. Whether we are making grilled steaks, hamburgers, or skewers, I am always experimenting with flavorful and unique side dishes. This bright salad, with roasted early summer radishes and young carrots, balanced with creamy whipped ricotta, makes a colorful addition to traditional summer fare.
1 bunch of young carrots, with the frilly tops attached
1 bunch radishes
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sumac, optional (see notes)
2 tablespoons minced shallot, or green onion
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
¼ cup carrot tops (from above), chopped
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon honey
Juice of one lemon, (zest reserved for below)
¼ to ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tablespoon honey
Zest of one lemon
2 cups spring salad greens
¼ cup roasted pistachio kernels, chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut off greens from the carrots, leaving about a half-inch attached to the ends. Wash carrot tops thoroughly and dry with a salad spinner. Peel carrots. If carrots are small leave them whole, if they are fat, slice them in half lengthwise. Trim off the greens of the radishes, and leave them whole if all small, or cut in half lengthwise if they are large. Toss carrots and radishes in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and the sumac if used. Spread carrots and radishes on a rimmed sheet pan in a single layer. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway until they are golden, and tender and the edges have caramelized.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette and the whipped ricotta. Stem the carrot tops, leaving the frilly tender ends, and chop. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, mint, carrot tops, coriander, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of honey. While whisking, add the olive oil in a steady stream, until the vinaigrette is at the desired consistency, about ¼ to ⅓ cup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the ricotta, lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon honey with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Using a whisk, or an electric hand mixer, whip the ricotta for a few minutes until evenly smooth ad fluffy. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and whip to combine. Keep chilled until ready to use.
When vegetables are done, pull from the oven and allow the pan to cool on a wire rack. Vegetables should be completely cooled to room temperature before serving. When ready to serve, assemble the salad on a large platter. First, spread the whipped ricotta on the platter in an oval shape. In a small bowl, toss the spring salad greens with a couple of spoonfuls of the vinaigrette, to lightly dress. Arrange salad greens over the ricotta, leaving a ring of the ricotta visible all around. Next, arrange the carrots and radishes over the greens, and drizzle a little vinaigrette over the roasted vegetables. Garnish the top with the chopped pistachios, and a crack of black pepper. A few sprigs of the frilly carrot tops could also make a lovely garnish. Serve immediately with any extra vinaigrette on the side.
If your carrots do not have the frilly greens still attached, you can substitute fresh parsley in the vinaigrette. Sumac is a bright red ground spice used in north African and middle eastern cuisine, which can be found in many larger groceries, often in the bulk spice section. The unique flavor is pungent, bright, and tart. If you cannot find sumac, you can use the zest of another lemon as a substitution.
This satisfying salad makes a lovely side dish to grilled or roasted meats and is best served at room temperature or slightly chilled. An unexpected and flavorful dish, this will be a hit at your next summer potluck. For visual impact, I like serving this with the carrots left whole, but you could also slice the carrots into 1-inch segments before roasting, to make it easier to serve. If you can find rainbow carrots, they will add a more delightful color to this already pretty dish. This week we enjoyed this salad along with a perfect roast chicken and a bottle of rosé in the backyard. Enjoy!